Scarlet Letter Hester's Transformation As Essay

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" (Hawthorne, 71) This statement of intent strikes as a core romantic value, contending with no small degree of irony that there is a sense of moral authority in the air which bears a dominant effect on the lives of New Englanders. Indeed, this is consistent with our understanding of Hawthorne's critical response to the forces of Puritanism.

That the author is from the infamous settlement of Salem, Massachusetts, commonly referenced for its dark rash of institutionalized colonial era murders, all directed toward women accused of witchcraft, may be perceived as a meaningful context through which to understand the generally damning perspective which the author demonstrates in his work toward the gender order defining civil life. As we see in the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne was generally fixated on the destructive dynamic which governed man's relationship with woman in such a society. That Hester could be so transformed against her will is to denote the effective actualization of social perspective created by the symbol of the 'A.' By expressing the notion that man's unrealistic expectation of woman to conform to his image of perfection, behaviorally or physically, would ultimately destroy the woman herself, Hawthorne serves up an indictment of the patriarchal order in America that at once suggests both an unrealistic regard for human nature and an emphasis on the moralism that fully subverts the values of personage or even love. As one critic would observe of the romantic penchant for social critique, there is a complex implication to a feminist plaint composed in the middle of the 19th century, with Hester as a martyr who has been willfully transformed by the ownership of man. Such a statement would be largely unprecedented as a critical response to conditions between men and women in post-colonial America, where changes were really only beginning to improve the lot of female social status.
Accordingly, one critic notes that "The Scarlet Letter addresses the anonymous toil of women under the barbarism of patriarchy, but we must go farther to undertstand its immediate and continuing power long before feminism became an unavoidable presence." (Arac, 248) the sense that Hester had been wronged by the impositions of society resonates in this text.

As with his philosophically-minded romantic contemporaries, Nathaniel Hawthorne has authored many works which explore the themes of female gender roles and which render very serious positions on the deeply flawed nature of human society. In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the relationship that persists between men and women to offer a common moral concerning the futility, and even the callous cruelty of the pursuit of moral authority. Here, we find Hawthorne in a pointedly critical state, imposing with great empathy the notion that the men in this story are in fact weak, self-indulgent and ultimately fully incapable of achieving moral turpitude themselves.

Works Cited

Arac, J. (1986). The politics of the Scarlet Letter. Ideology and Classic American Literature: Cambridge University Press.

Hawthorne, N. (1850). The Scarlet Letter. Simon and Schuster.

Stewart, R. (1942). The English Notebooks….....

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