The feminist scarlet letter

October 29th, The First Feminist: How Hester Prynne Turned Her Punishment into Power Most people identify Feminism as an anti-male movement hell-bent on making women the dominant gender, but this is not the case. In this novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne executes these ideas by overcoming her public humiliation and rising up against the predetermined ideas that her Puritan town holds for her. She is a perfect example of what a feminist should be, which is a real treat considering the time period and the fact that Nathaniel Hawthorne really had no inspiration for his radical ideas.

The feminist scarlet letter

The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. When the narrator lost his customs post, he decided to write a fictional account of the events recorded in the manuscript.

The Scarlet Letter is the final product. The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, then a Puritan settlement. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. The consensus is that he has been lost at sea. While waiting for her husband, Hester has apparently had an affair, as she has given birth to a child.

He settles in Boston, intent on revenge. He reveals his true identity to no one but Hester, whom he has sworn to secrecy.

Hester supports herself by working as a seamstress, and Pearl grows into a willful, impish child. Shunned by the community, they live in a small cottage on the outskirts of Boston. Community officials attempt to take Pearl away from Hester, but, with the help of Arthur Dimmesdale, a young and eloquent minister, the mother and daughter manage to stay together.

The feminist scarlet letter

Dimmesdale, however, appears to be wasting away and suffers from mysterious heart trouble, seemingly caused by psychological distress. Chillingworth attaches himself to the ailing minister and eventually moves in with him so that he can provide his patient with round-the-clock care.

One night, when Pearl is about seven years old, she and her mother are returning home from a visit to a deathbed when they encounter Dimmesdale atop the town scaffold, trying to punish himself for his sins.

Hester and Pearl join him, and the three link hands. Hester arranges an encounter with Dimmesdale in the forest because she is aware that Chillingworth has probably guessed that she plans to reveal his identity to Dimmesdale. The former lovers decide to flee to Europe, where they can live with Pearl as a family.

They will take a ship sailing from Boston in four days. Both feel a sense of release, and Hester removes her scarlet letter and lets down her hair. Pearl, playing nearby, does not recognize her mother without the letter. The day before the ship is to sail, the townspeople gather for a holiday and Dimmesdale preaches his most eloquent sermon ever.

Meanwhile, Hester has learned that Chillingworth knows of their plan and has booked passage on the same ship. Dimmesdale, leaving the church after his sermon, sees Hester and Pearl standing before the town scaffold. He impulsively mounts the scaffold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing a scarlet letter seared into the flesh of his chest.

He falls dead, as Pearl kisses him.Evidence of feminism in The Scarlet Letter appears in Chapter 13, Another View of Hester, and The Conclusion. Hester herself embodies all the qualities of 19th century feminism.

Carol Gilligan is the author of the classic work "In a Different Voice" which challenged mainstream psychological theories of moral development that were based almost exclusively on male experience.

SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Is Hester Prynne a feminist? Nevertheless, Hawthorne's conception of progression for women's place in society is certainly evident in the thinking of his main character, Hester Prynne, who evinces cultural feminism, which attempts to heighten respect for what is traditionally considered women's work while
Who can edit: Morality; women's development; adolescence; conflict resolution; psychology and politics.

Plot Overview. The Scarlet Letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts.

Carol Gilligan - Psychology's Feminist Voices

In the customhouse’s attic, he discovered a number of documents, among them a manuscript that was bundled with a scarlet, gold-embroidered patch of cloth in the shape of an “A.”. The Scarlet Letter can easily be seen as an early feminist piece of work.

The feminist scarlet letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne created a story that exemplifies Hester as a strong female character living with her choices, whether they were good or bad, and also as the protagonist. He also presents the daughter of Hester, Pearl, as.

The Scarlet Letter (Signet Classics) [Nathaniel Hawthorne, Brenda Wineapple, Regina Barreca] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

This tragic novel of sin and redemption is Hawthorne's masterpiece of American fiction. An ardent young woman. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is commonly known as America’s first great novel and as America’s first feminist novel as well.

Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter in the middle of the nineteenth century while the novel actually takes place in the mid seventeenth century puritanical Boston.

SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Context