Hester Prynne In The Scarlett Letter

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In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, most of the audience sees the main protagonist, Hester Prynne, as a symbol of early feminism. This novel takes place in a Puritan society, and their interpretation of the Bible is very strict. Along with their strict interpretation of the Bible, they have very stern norms on the roles of women, and during this time, women were still considered to be greatly inferior to men. Throughout the novel, the reader can see the way Hester is constantly judged for committing adultery, whereas the man she committed adultery with is not judged the same way; in fact, his identity is unknown at first. Hester Prynne is, in the words of John Updike, “is a mythic version of every woman’s attempt to integrate…show more content…
The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor for ever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it. (175)
Therefore, it is clear that Hester wanted for Pearl and Dimmesdale to unite in order for Pearl to have a better life, and for her to embrace her sexuality too, to embrace that she is a woman. As a result, it is clear that Hester chose to beg for the assistance of Dimmesdale, not because she could not raise Pearl on her own, but because she wanted Pearl to learn from her mother’s mistakes, as well as have a father figure in her life– even if it was only for a short while. Hester Prynne is a strong woman who managed to merge her sexuality with societal demands throughout the novel. Although she suffered greatly, she managed to raise her child well, without the help of anyone else, and she also managed to serve as an inspiration for women. In John Updike’s words, she truly serves as a “mythic version of every woman’s attempt to integrate her sexuality with societal demands,” not only during puritan times, but also in present
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