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The Scarlet Letter: Feminist and Gender Criticism

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Meleia M

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of The Scarlet Letter: Feminist and Gender Criticism

The Scarlet Letter: Feminist and Gender Criticism
What is Feminism?
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Feminism Defined Across Cultures
Feminism is an idea with combined notions from many different cultural views and ideas.
The feministic views from today
Feminist Ideas from the Book
Pearl is a mixture of conflicting natures
Hester/Dimmesdale, Adulteress/Minister, Devil/Angel
Regulation of Females
"special emphasis on Puritan efforts to regulate female sexuality within religious, legal, and economic structures"
focuses on the idea of subordinating women to men
Feminist literary criticism is literary analysis that arises from the viewpoint of feminism, feminist theory and/or feminist politics
type of literature analysis
resisting masculine tendencies of classical literature
revival of women's culture and history
North America
alternate feminine language
emphasis on the female body
focused on critique of French and American understanding
critique of male stereotypes leads to counter stereotypes that ignore real differences between race, class and culture
female criticism of male stereotypes joins all women together in one category of more stereotypes that generally define them
Our own Inferences
Hester goes through a gender shift
Quote from page 133, chapter 13
Hester becomes more masculine & father role
Hester and Dimmesdale represent the opposite of normal family gender roles
- Ross C. Murfin
- Editor
-Southern Methodist University
- Informative and uses many references to support view point
- Modern times
- examines both historical and recent events
- Observation and critique
- Regarding feminism and gender in our culture
- Students
- Readers of
The Scarlet Letter
-how feminism is applied to the novel in general
-definition of gender
-how feminism is related to Hester's controversial image of a woman
-"The phallic power to control and master women" (385)

-straightfoward and informative
-uses multiple examples to back up claims
-references cultural histories of feminism and definition of gender and women's studies
-questions the methods of examining gender
-asks the reader to develop their own opinion
The lack of knowledge of Dimmesdale's identity removes his gender role.
- Pearl says that she came from a rose bush
- Creates the illusion that she is of demon origin
- The authority for naming a child comes from the masculine

Outward signs of Dimmesdale's more feminine tendencies
- He is effectively "desexed" because of his feminine nature
- His gentle qualities and rhetorical ability speak to a feminine touch
Punishment Variation
- If Hester had been a man, her punishment would have been very different
- The man's punishment
- Death
- Single punishment/ only one time
- The woman's punishment (Hester)
- Kept alive
- Continuous and lifelong punishment
Pearl would have been taken from Hester had she been a boy
two choices to learn from Hester's example
in a phallic culture, they wouldn't have taken any chance on a boy being religiously corrupted
a boy could be a possible leader or minister
"Without question, she is equally in the dark as to her soul, its present depravity, and future destiny! methinks, gentlemen, we need inquire no further."(98)
Dimmesdale speaks of the "awful sacredness"
Pearl is given up as a person to be used for a method of punishment
Full transcript