The Scarlet Notice written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is set in 1600’s Puritan Boston. It tells the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who suffers community ignominy, forced to wear a red scarlet letter on her sin of adultery. The Scarlet Notification provides a consider the stringent laws and ideology of a intensely patriarchal Puritan society. The Scarlet Letter has the connotation of being a protofeminist story, but , although it does talk about the danger of any purely patriarchal society it will not meet the feminist standards with the twenty-first century because of Hawthorne’s prejudice against intellectual women.
In the book Hawthorne suggestions that the thought of women because intellectual equates to could not make it through in practice while taking responsibility away from guys. In section thirteen Hester comes to “discern it may be, these kinds of a impossible task before her” for making equality for females in her society (114). Hester views no useful way to change the ideology encircling gender tasks. She feels men’s entire belief system would have to be torn straight down before there might be equality, and not only that women would need to change themselves to be able to take up a “fair and suitable position” in contemporary society (114). Afterwards in the verse, Hawthorne requires responsibility away from men by citing their very own genetic inclination to control society. This kind of suggests that it is not men’s fault that they stifle women because it is something all-natural and hard wired to their genetics. By this logic additionally, it seems that women have the same “long genetic habit” of being meek and submissive (114). This verse begs problem why the natural characteristics of individuals should be tampered with. One more place Hawthorne discredits females as intellectuals, occurs by the end of the book when he observes that Hester is not capable of being the “prophetess” of any new age of women’s equal rights because the responsibility of her sin was insurmountable (180). Hester believes “The angel and apostle with the coming revelation must be a woman, indeed, but lofty, natural, and amazing, and smart, moreover, certainly not through dusky grief, nevertheless the ethereal method of joy” (180). The concept Hester is definitely not “pure” enough as the apostle implies that her desprovisto of coitus is as incredible as the girl with made to believe which contradicts the idea that Hester is merely captured in the ideological framework of Puritan Boston and not basically sinful away from its strict standards. This kind of portrait negates the significant ideas Hester has regarding gender equal rights and her doctrine of free love.
Hawthorne views the intellect as being a masculine attribute and thinks women need to give up their femininity to have the intellect of any man. While the book unfolds, and Hester recieve more time to think about gender jobs in society and think about her very own philosophy of love, she begins to lose her feminine splendor. Hawthorne accredits this loss to that idea that “some characteristic had departed from her, the résolution of which have been essential to maintain her a woman” (112). The author states that women have zero inherent intellect and to gain any they need to lose a thing of their selves and become androgynous figures since their position as women is antagónico with mind. Hester regains her natural beauty when the lady throws off her scarlet letter, recommending that Hester’s sin and the guilt she bears as a result of it, represented by the scarlet letter, and her fresh intellectualism are bound collectively. She simply cannot retain one while discarding the other. This instant also signifies that the only way the girl can become a genuine intellectual is definitely through her severe open public and private pain, which make her intellectualism look like an unfortunate car accident or a bad coping system rather than a thing that could happen in everyday life with normal women. In the same passage Hawthorne establishes the depths that Hester’s revolutionary thinking has taken her when ever she contemplates whether “it were not far better to send Gem at once to heaven, and go herself. ” (114) The darkness of even entertaining the idea of murdering her child and committing suicide seems to mean that women are too emotional and fragile to get weighed straight down with all the thoughts of an mind. Hawthorne suggests that women will be incapable of fully mastering all their intellectual thoughts, and their thoughts become the learn of them and lead them astray. Intellectual thought, into a woman becomes a sort of bane.
Hawthorne emotions his bad view of girls intellectuals simply by portraying you intellects, Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmsdale, as hubristic. The two intellectual men with the novel, Chillingworth and Dimmsdale, are both bothered with incredible hubris and a degree of narcissism. Chillingworth feels he’s within his rights to privately torcher Dimsdale to get the crime he committed when he rested with Hester. Similarly, Dimsdale refuses to disclose his identity because he is convinced “thenceforward, no good can be attained by [me]” (91) He rationalizes leaving Hester to her non-public misery simply by believing those of his clergy need him an excessive amount of. This characterization of intellect as a messing the attribute reduces the wound of Hawthorne believing ladies not being competent of intellect. Hawthorne as well suggests that intelligence is incompatible with womanhood. While this could be perceived as arguing that women usually are strong enough to acquire intellectual thoughts, it could end up being arguing that the humble character of women is definitely unsuited towards the feeling of superiority that intellect creates in men. This kind of change in point of view portrays ladies more positively because it suggests that they are over a arrogance of intellect, instead they appear to have innate knowledge or womanly intuition that guides their particular morals. Since Hawthorne sights intellect as being a negative characteristic, it takes a number of the sting away of his refusal to accept women while intellectuals. Consequently , while The Scarlet Letter is not feminist, it is not sexist either.
In spite of its reputation as a proto-feminist book, Hawthorne’s prejudice against women of intellect is too great allowing any possible feminist styles to reach their particular potential. Hawthorne did not consider women can actually turn into intellectuals on par with men and viewed mind as a manly attribute that just certain girls could attain and only by losing some part of all their femininity. Whilst this story addresses the corruption found in a strictly patriarchal world, it fails to provide a practical alternative and disregards females as competent intellectuals towards the point of condescension. Inspite of its common recognition as one of the greatest American novels, The Scarlet Notice will only at any time be relevant to women’s privileges as a counterargument.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Notification. New York: Dover Publications, year 1994. Print.