Hawthorne holds strong opinions about what he believes a strong woman should be. During the 1800’s when The Scarlet Letter was written, women did not have many rights. They were not seen as an independent entity outside of their husband because once married, the husband and wife are considered to be one person in law. Additionally, men were responsible for their wives, as he was to “answer for her misbehaviour…[and was] intrust[ed] with [the] power of restraining her…in the same moderation that a man [was] allowed to correct his servants or children” (Blackstone 249). Hawthorne uses the role that women played in society in the 1800’s to create Hester Prynne with contrasting characteristics that he believes makes her a strong woman. He uses words such as “bold…courage…untamed…intellect…free…[and] strong” to describe Hester as a virtuous woman (158). Hester first showcases this independence when she “repel[s] [the beadle], by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character” before she goes on the scaffold for the first time (57). H...
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...h counters the idea of Hester being a strong woman. Hawthorne’s presentation of Hester as a strong woman has served as a role-model of what the ideal woman should be. Thanks to Hawthorne’s character, Hester Prynne, the role of women in society has changed drastically over the years to create an equal existence with males.
de Tocqueville, Alexis. “From How the Americans Understand the Equality of the Sexes”
(1835).” The Scarlet Letter: Second Edition. Ed. Ross Murfin. Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. 249-250. Print.
Blackstone, William. “From Of Husband and Wife (1795).” The Scarlet Letter: Second Edition.
Ed. Ross Murfin. Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. 248-249. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Scarlet Letter.” The Scarlet Letter: Second Edition. Ed. Ross
Murfin. Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. 21-202. Print.
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