Scarlet Letter: Transcendentalism And Women's Rights Movement

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The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is one of the most famous and influential novels written in American literature. The story takes place in the seventeenth century in the Puritan settlement of Boston where a young woman named Hester Prynne is punished after having a daughter with a man who was not her husband. Though, instead of hanging Hester they spare her life because of her beauty. She is then shunned and forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for adultery) on her breast for the rest of her life, while, the “unknown” man who Hester had an affair with moves on with a guilt-filled life. The novel is a classic romance with it’s countless symbols tossed throughout the book. From the “A” to the rosebush it’s hard not to go a single…show more content…
Within the 1800s the first convention to focus on the rights of women was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 and in 1869 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (Ann-Marie Imbornoni). Around the same time, the transcendentalist movement also took off causing many different scholars and writers to begin to writing essays and discussing ideas behind the movement. Both supported equal opportunities and rights for individuals. Although The Women’s Rights Movement was obviously more geared towards the equal rights of women, while the transcendentalist movement focused more on rights of everyone. The two movements did influence a lot of literature at the time and can explain many of the aspects in the scarlet…show more content…
Of course Hester Prynne is not the only example of a independent female within in the book. Both Pearl and Mistress Hibbins demonstrate similar strong female qualities. They both allow themselves to act with free will and to speak however they please. Neither one of the characters ever pauses or censers themselves for the sake of another. From a young age Pearl shocked the people of Boston because of what she would say. For example, when Pearl was asked where she came from she denied that she had a heavenly father. A statement that would have been considered very inappropriate and sinful, at that time. Mistress Hibbins functioned in a similar fashion, she, like Pearl always stated her thoughts whether people liked it or not. For example, when she would asked Hester to join her at her next meeting with the Black Man (devil) in the forest. Though, the modern concept of feminism we know today was not yet developed completely at the time when the book was written. These female characters, set a standard for women of the

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