New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Perspectives on New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Introduction

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter has been a highly debatable topic of

numerous critical essays, written by scholars who approach the novel from various

perspectives of literary criticism. Due to the diversity of perspectives, the questions proposed by these scholars vary and hence the conclusions they arrive at by examining the same literary text may differ not only within a range, but in addition may even seem contrary to one another. The aim of this paper is to provide a comparison between three of the critical perspectives: New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction, each represented by an essay relating to one of the viewpoints of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel.

In order to begin my comparison of these three critical perspectives, I will first need

to provide general definitions of terms. These definitions may be considered incomplete and they will not cover every detail, as is possibly required for an encyclopedia of literary terms. My attempt is rather to provide a rough overview of keywords and ideas that relate to each perspective, and this overview will primarily be based upon the introductions to each essay provided by Russ C. Murfin.

The comparison and contrast includes an outline of similarities and differences

between the author's perspectives and literary concepts depicted in each composition. Each

fragment of literary text is evaluated according to its aims, goals and questions which are proposed. Another aspect of my discussion will incorporate selected citations taken directly from the novel, which are utilized by each scholar to support his or her c...

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...y nor that the distinctions between each perspective are absolute. The separation of the different perspectives is complex and ambiguous. Therefore the apparent relation between the different aspects partly coincide with one another.

Works cited

Benstock, Shari, "The Scarlet Letter (a) dorée or the Female Body Embrodidered", in Ross C Murfin,

ed., Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1991

Bercovitch, Sacvan, "Hawthorne's A-Morality of Compromise", in Ross C Murfin, ed., Nathaniel

Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1991

Murfin, Ross C., ed., "Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter." Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1991

Ragussis, Micharl, "Silence, Family Discourse, and Fiction in The Scarlet Letter", in Ross C Murfin,

ed., Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1991

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