Gender Inequality “The Scarlet Letter”

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In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The author uses the lack of gender equality throughout the poem, Hester, a female is forced to take responsibility for her actions, but Chillingworth a male is never harassed or villafies as much as Hester, even though he was involved in the sexual activity as well.

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“Gender Inequality “The Scarlet Letter””

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, best known for American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. Hawthorne was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. Like, Young Goodman Brown, The Birthmark, and many more short stories. Also, his work in famous book The Scarlet letter, has influenced and attracted many reader’s attention over the years, and we can find this book referenced in many different articles. This book was deliberately written as Queer theory, or gender studies criticism, which questions and problematizes gender identity and sexual orientation in literary texts. The narrator Hawthorne is a sincere and thoughtful writer, he narrated the unfortunate fate story of Hester Prynne, by which he disclose the low status of women during the 17th century of Puritan, New England. Moreover, he reveals a lot of merciless, ruthless, and brutal actions has occured because of prejudices against the women of Puritan society. Although, Hester Prynne did not let the isolation and shame by the community affect her, she made herself stronger, braver and more determined to fight for the equality between men and women.

The Scarlet Letter reflects the actuality of the 17th century in Puritan America. The novel displays an example of what women had to endure during that time period. Despite the fact that the women were strong, brave, kind and devoted, their lives were still miserble at the hands of a patriarchic society. As a result, it revealed the dark side of the Puritan doctrine but only this, it also showed their determination in imposing a lower status on their community females. The brave female main figure of the novel, Hester Prynne is such an amazing noble character, and a pioneer for women rights.

Nathaniel Hawthorne created a new female image for his novel, where Heter Prynne showed the central character and, is not the same as the other women of her time. Although, Hester enourmously suffered from the shame of her society and being isolated by them but from inside her, she could not accept the Puitan judgemnet of her act. Because her believe is dignified for the desire of love and freedom, which is not wrong. She survived from her punishment with her noble and kind character, and also maintained her self-respect. She has the qualities of self-reliance, rebellious spirit and a strong mind, where she finds comfort in her own thoughts and create a new female image. The female image explained by Hawthorne will change with the qualities Hester has represented for the feminist awarness and also some of the things that will change the concept of traditional female image. These qualities represent for the feminist consciousness and also some of the elements that make the difference between the traditional female image and the one illustrated by Hawthorne. Hester’s character of great strength establish the fact that women might not have a lower status in society than men because/but she dares to impossible power and tenaciously fight for the unfair rules. Also, females dignity and worth gets highlighted when a women awakens herself and opens her consiousness which enables women to do things that they have never done before. The awakening of the female consciousness enables women to do things that they have never done before and the worth and dignity of women become highlighted.

At first, in the novel Hester has been convicted as a victim than a heroine for women. The Puritan authorities decided to convict Hester with bright red alphabet “A”, which symbolizes the adultery she is held reponsible for, when her husband was lost in a sea. She is forced to be humiliated by the Puritan coomunity with their disgusted gazes and they were treating her disrespectfully, which she witnessed. The people in the community made Hester an example of sin with their sanctimonious eyes. She also confronted with the continuous doubt of her child’s (pearl) origin.

Hester Prynne`s revolutionary spirit not only substantiates her feminist values but also helps her defy authority and stand up to the colonial rule combined by the Puritan Church and the state. The 17th century American Puritan society managed to cast disgrace upon female passions and Puritan membership was often described as being based on the ability of the community members to judge the appearance instead of people`s interior conscience. As a result, the Puritan society was considered unable of understanding the essence of humanity. The main unwritten law of the Puritans in order to be a part of the “Holy community” was to comply with the rules of Puritanism and make sure that no one is breaking or revolting against them. Hester is young and beautiful and she gave birth to a child without knowing who the father was. This, according to the Puritan community, was a punishable act, thus, she was forced to wear the scarlet letter on her chest and suffer public shaming. Despite the fact that she is being punished, Hester does not kneel in front of her prosecutors and instead she shows that she has an extreme force of character and holds her head high accepting what happens to her without shedding a tear.

Hester is an example of strength and an act of rebellion because she decided to wear the big “A” letter with pride and elaborated it with a golden thread instead of being ashamed of wearing, which showed her skills in her thread work. She is a type of women who chllenges the Puritan society rules. She censured any type of clothing which is dark and plain. She kept herself neutral and confident while she was being tortured from inside but forced herself to be in graceful manner from outside.

Hester knew that the steps she is taking will have bad effects and tragic consequences because from her own life experience, she knew that in the community women are expected to depend on men.

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Gender Inequality "The Scarlet Letter". (2022, Feb 03). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from
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