Feminism And Transcendentalism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

982 Words4 Pages
Literature and language is a powerful tool. It has the capabilities to move audiences, transform and mold societies, and give insights to a civilization’s thoughts. The feminist and transcendentalist movements occurred nearly simultaneously in history and pushed each other with their growing popularity. Feminism and transcendentalism boiled down to major components is the equality of women and men in society and individual thoughts, respectfully. The Scarlet Letter can be considered a feminist novel through the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, use of transcendentalist ideals to highlight universal women equality through the lead female characters’ actions.
Hawthorne highlights feminism through the main characters’ self reliance in The Scarlet
…show more content…
In the beginning, Hester is questioned about the identity of the man she had an affair with. Hester refuses to give the identity when she cries, “Never! It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And I would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine,” (Hawthorne 47). Hester’s response is confident and resolute. By not giving the identity of the man, she empowers herself in the patriarchal Puritan society. She takes her own stand and takes her sin and punishment with bravery and firm belief. Hawthorne giving Hester power sends a universal message that women can stand up for themselves, even they do not have the upper hand of the situation. Hawthorne molds Pearl’s character into an exuberant, outspoken little girl. Pearl does not hold back when it comes to asking anyone around her questions. Hester and Pearl encounter Dimmesdale in the forest. When he leaves Pearl asks, “Mother, was that the same minister that kissed me in the brook?” Her mother responds with, “Hold thy peace… we must not always talk…happens to us in the forest” (Hawthorne 164). Pearl’s wild and curious characteristics suggest elements of confidence and free flowing thoughts, because she repeatedly asks questions on topics taboo to others. Hawthorne using Pearl as a fearless female character creates a parallel with a strong independent female lead in a feminist novel. Thus, Hawthorne is able to use Pearl and Hester’s free thought and confidence in their words to create elements seen in feminist

More about Feminism And Transcendentalism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Open Document