Research Paper - Sin and Feminism Throughout the Ages A...

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Sin and Feminism Throughout the Ages A Scarlet Letter , written by Nathanial Hawthorne is a classic story of a woman, Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and had a child as a result. Not only was Hester’s act a sin that resulted in punishment in the form of wearing a fabric A on her clothes, but it also result in a new found femininity among the character. In this essay I will examine the similarities and differences among critics’ opinions regarding Hester’s feminism and sin by examining four articles and explaining how time and personal experiences create the critic’s perceptions. The first article I wish to discuss was written by Neal Frank Doubleday in 1939. “Hawthorne’s Hester and Feminism” presents a clear standpoint of the author’s opinion on feminism. Doubleday felt that Hester’s feminism was more important than the morals she went against. His major point focused on how “Hester had been estranged from the normal existence of a woman” (Doubleday, p. 826). She had to separate herself from the normal life of a woman in order to embrace these feminist ideas. Doubleday felt that this estrangement was necessary for Hester to be able to second guess what she was used to. If an individual is not facing any problems then they would not think to question and potentially change the situation of the better. Doubleday notes that Hester’s feminism was not an intentional representation of Hawthorne’s view on feminism during his era. “Feminist ideas were part of the intellectual climate in which Hawthorne lived” (Doubleday, p. 826). This is the point that although Hawthorne did not intend to have The Scarlet Letter represent his views it is clear that they did.
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Doubleday goes on to say that the point of view given in the book is the same as his other remarks on feminism. This article was written after the feminist movement, as compared to the novel, which was written before. It is clear that this had a major impact on how the novel was viewed. The next article I wish to analyze was written by Frederic I. Carpenter in 1944. He wrote “Scarlet a Minus” as a way to compare 5 analysis’ of Hester’s sin. The first analysis was under the view of traditional moralists. “Although she sinned less than her hypocritical lover and her vengeful husband, she nevertheless sinned; and, from her sin, death and tragedy resulted” (Carpenter, p.174). Each branch of traditionalist have their own opinion on where her sin left her
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course ENGL 011 taught by Professor Ognibene during the Spring '08 term at Siena College (Loudonville).

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Research Paper - Sin and Feminism Throughout the Ages A...

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