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The Genesis Of Feminism In Literature

1342 words - 5 pages

Feminism is a theory that all sexes should have political, economic, and social equality. Hawthorne was a writer during the Romantic Era in literature; one of the many individuals fired by their ideals sought to tell the world about them through their works (e.g. art, literature, music). Hawthorne was raised by his spouseless mother, which probably led him to believe women could be equal to men. Hawthorne grew up with “his mother became overly protective and pushed him toward relatively isolated pursuits” (Grade Saver 1). Whilst Hawthorne’s single mother life prospered, his odium for the belief of Puritanism started when he learned his association to Judge John Hawthorne, one of the judges who oversaw the Salem witch trails. Hawthorne loathed his ancestor and the belief profoundly enough to add a “w” in his last name to disregard any association with his predecessor. The Puritans do not believe in women staying alone without a male companion. On the contrary, his work The Scarlet Letter, introduces the first protagonist that is a feminist. Therefore, because Puritans beliefs were mainly anti-feminist this leads to the question whether Hawthorne was a feminist or not. I credit Nathaniel Hawthorne to be a person that supports feminist ideology through his works, his life and his past.
As a basis, author prepensely make the protagonist of his or her work a certain way, which in turn expresses the author’s own personal beliefs. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of The Scarlet Letter, is considered to be one of first strong willed, independent female protagonists in American literature that she became classified as a feminist. Hester proves to be a feminist when instead of leaving her community for the comforts of England; she stays and endures constant impertinence by the public. Even “with the world before her…and no restriction clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement…it may seem marvelous, that this should still call the place her home, where, and where only, she must needs by the type of shame,” (Hawthorne 66). Although, Hester could leave all her problems behind and leads a new life entirely, she chooses to stay and face her difficulties straight on. One of these early examples shows her strength while she takes in the abuse of her society. Hester’s strength can also be seen when she stands on the scaffold. Hester is to stand in front of her commune while Mr. Wilson preaches about the different sins referring to Hester as a living example.
Of an impulsive and passionate nature, she had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult…[concurrently] the elder clergyman, who had carefully prepared himself for the occasion, addressed to the multitude a discourse on sin, in all its branches, but with continual reference to the ignominious letter, (Hawthorne 48,57).
The feeling of her community insulting her mentally and staring at her would...

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