The Scarlet Letter: Feminism

653 Words3 Pages
Haley Robyak Feminist Analysis Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In the mid nineteenth century, the first women’s rights movement began. The women’s rights movement was the effort to secure equal rights for women and to remove gender discrimination from laws, institutions, and behavioral patterns. Hester Prynne’s rebellious, but contemplative character both defines and illustrates women’s rights in a Puritan society. In the 1850’s love was absent in marriages; women were to marry for improved social status or financial stability. Women received very little education and could rarely obtain a low paying job. Men saw the purpose of women as child bearing, cooking, cleaning, or an economical asset to the man. They would harvest herbs for medicinal purpose, farm for cooking, spin yarn for clothing, and care for the family. They did not believe women had a voice in decision making or policy. Men viewed women as objects. They felt strongly that they were to attend to him and do as he tells. Men also saw themselves at a higher hierarchy than women. They truly believed they were better than the women and had more rights than the women. There are several examples of social inequality in the Scarlett Letter. On the surface, it appears that Hester’s main punishment is her public admonishment and visual letter; however, she suffers additional penalties. For instance, Hester marries Chillingworth to get to American. She sacrifices love, intimacy and companionship. Not only was Hester chastised for her sin, but for her loss of marriage. In Puritan society, a woman, who remained single, attracted social disapproval and pity, as seen by Hester Prynne. Dimmesdale has no compassion for Hester. While Hester was receiving public ignominy,
Open Document