Hester Prynne: A Woman's Liberty Essay

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A Woman’s Liberty The seventeenth century is a time where there is the struggle in gender equality; the beginning of feminism. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” is a major example of a woman fighting for freedom and struggling in society of hypocrites, beginning her battle as a genuine feminist. The figure of Hester as a new female image with her female perception encourages women who struggle to find equality in society. Hawthorne illustrates the society as it actually was in the 17th century Puritan society and according to Michael Shea, “it could be possible that Hawthorne gained the idea of feminism due to the time he lived in- the Puritan era” (Shea). Hawthorne felt the need to create a new, strong, and righteous character to for the battle of equal status between men and women. As the heroin of the novel, Hester Prynne represents the fighting feminist. Her miserable life reveals the low status of women during the 17th century Puritan society and exposes there is no mercy towards the cruelty and the prejudice the women encountered during this time period. Although ashamed and alienated from society, Hester proves to contain a stronger being than the women of that time. Hester does not fall after convicted of a sin, but becomes a strong woman seeking equality between men and women and the letter she is branded “was a symbol of her calling” (Hawthorne 150). The letter allows her to live without the Puritans hypocrisy and the hardship women face and carves her into being an essential feminist character throughout the novel. An individual may need to understand the difference between the feminism in the women of the Puritan society and Hester Prynne. According to the tradition culture, there are two types of female images: the first type is the discriminated female image. For a long time, men are considered having superior intelligence and having a

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