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Women and Femininity in the Scarlet Letter

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Samantha Campbell

on 14 September 2016

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Transcript of Women and Femininity in the Scarlet Letter

1.) Who seemed to criticize Hester more about her sins? The women or the men? Why did one gender critcize her more?
Questions
Women in SL
Women in this town were Puritan and were expected to follow strict rules and be very religious.
The man in the household was the decision maker and the wife virtually had no say.
Hester is the main character in this story, she is shunned, isolated and rejcted by society because of her sins.
When Hester is revealed to be pregnant everyone is shocked that a woman had committed such a great sin.
Hester is harshly judged for her actions, and her being a woman she is even more criticized.
Femininity
Quote Number One
"Throughout them all, giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion. Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the child of honorable parents,—at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman, —at her, who had once been innocent, —as the figure, the body, the reality of sin. And over her grave, the infamy that she must carry thither would be her only monument." (Chapter 5)
Lily Breitenstein, Samantha Campbell & Tyler Williams
Women and Femininity in the Scarlet Letter
2.)Did some people admire her for her bravery? Or identify with her?
3.) When Hester was standing in front of evryone what could have been some of the thoughts people had?

4.) Do you believe that Hester would be treated differently if she were a man?
This book is really the opposite of feminism. Women are there to take care of the kids and live the Puritan, boring life. So, when Hester commits adultery she breaks that Puritan women lifestyle and every one shuns her.
But it also good for women because it shows Hester's "strength of a woman".
Questions

1.) Why do you think Hawthorne did not include a lot of feminism?

2.) Should Hawthorne have included what the punishment for the father of Hester's child would have been to make it more equal?

3.) How does Hawthorne's protrayal of women make you feel?

4.) Why do you think women were treated this way in society?


Quote
"The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, -that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength." (Chapter 13)
Full transcript