Scarlet Letter Gender Identity Essay

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However, gender empathy is not something Anna can expect in the metropolis. White women in London also contribute to reinforce Anna’s ‘blackened’ colonial identity. Hester constantly underlines Anna’s “unfortunate propensities” (55) alluding to her sexual promiscuity, and says that “everything considered” (56) her stepdaughter is much to be comforted. The implicit premise of Hester’s argument is the supposed sexual promiscuity of the black female. Anna understands this implication and replies back, “you are trying to make that my mother was coloured. And she wasn’t” (56). Hester denies such accusation, but replies, “I tried to teach you talk like a lady and behave like a lady and not like a nigger and of course I couldn’t do it...That awful…show more content…
Anna’s childhood memories reveal an organic connection with the place that gave the self its identity in the past, and which is now fragmented in the urban context of the British metropolis. The binary setting, London and the Caribbean, symbolize Anna’s inner opposing desires. First, to be part and different from the rest of the British society, asserting herself of as a white Creole without being marginalized. Second, to oppose the patriarchal discourse that authorizes imperial constructions of femininity. The connection of the two places symbolizes an inner search for an authentic female self, which opposes the authority of a masculine and materialistic society in which women are without agency. The novel provides many references to how race and sexuality indicate the various ways in which colonial discourse defines its subjects. Beside her apparent victimization and lack of agency, Anna is a subversive character; she creates her subjectivity as a subaltern woman showing the effects of colonization and creating a female identity based on the senses and memories. Finally, Voyage in the Dark is a novel of exile, a recurrent theme in twentieth-century literature, and a vivid account of the colonial and modern experience of the migrant in the imperial
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