Women in Nathaniel Hawthorne literature Essay
The analysis of the characters of women in Nathaniel Hawthorne works.
Why does Nathaniel Hawthorne dedicate so much of his work to revealing the character of a woman? What is the main trait of character that Hawthrones women have? What is the most common sufferings Hawthrones women experience?
Hawthorne clears the difference between women and men but through making this comparison he puts them on the same level and therefore considers a women to a decent counterweight to a man.
Women in Nathaniel Hawthorne literature Essay
Introduction: Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most outstanding writers that the world has ever seen. His magnificent works are the reflections of the puritan society he was living it and all the defects of that society that were veiled so much. His works have faced a lot of criticism due to their dualism and sharp nudity. The images that were put in Nathaniel Hawthornes works were real-life images, inspired by real people which makes them very realistic and sometimes even frightening. He seems to posses the intention to show the changes that have occurred in people around him from the very puritan times. Hawthorne emphasizes the fact that people were taught to hold everything negative they seemed to have inside themselves and perform an ideal citizen for the world around them. What Nathaniel Hawthorne writes fits the contemporary society, too. Maybe this is the reason it is so important to understand his description and attitude towards women. His books posses a large number of different women characters. Nevertheless, the all of them carry the message of the cost of being different for a woman. Nathaniel Hawthornes woman is strong and weak, charming and rueful, vivid and quiet but there is one thing that unites them all they throw a calling to the society around them. They are shown as rebels, they are shown as a great power of the humanity. Hawthorne clears the difference between women and men but through making this comparison he puts them on the same level and therefore considers a women to a decent counterweight to a man. The lives of these women give us not a very pleasant portrait of a puritan society.
2. Characters of Hawthornes women. None of the doors of the society Hawthornes women live in leads to heaven. Everything and everybody in the world around them is closed and ungracious. His women are prominent; they possess enormous inner power to overcome difficulties. Being so different, but having so much more inside then the people around them, Hawthornes women are depicted not just like women. They also possess the courageousness that sometimes even a man cannot reveal. Hawthorne in his short stories shows the pride of the society around, the sins that the society is sinking into and the individual life tragedies of his women that seem to oppose this society. One of the most important things is that a woman in Hawthornes short stories is opposed to a man; is treated like being equal to a man. The attitude of the 19th century society towards women and their behavior seems to be similar to ignorant. Hawthorne shows women as human being able to love, to trust and to sacrifice themselves, which he seems to value more than mens desire to achieve fame, converting the society into a vanity fair. For instance, the image of Hester Prynne in Scarlet letter is one of the brightest examples of how Hawthorne values women and how much he want to show that it is them who posses the qualities of decent human beings. Hester accepts public her punishment and the scarlet letter, resists it and even more then that - she stands all the humiliations without revealing the name of her daughters father. It is possible to say that Hawthorne shows her as a hero and at the same time men are depicted with certain negativism, making Hawthornes works feministic.
3.The driving force of Hawthornes women. Women in Hawthornes stories are very dedicated and able to resist anything. The ability to love and to do anything for the beloved one makes the image of women in Hawthornes stories very impressing. Hawthornes Birthmark portraits Georgiana, the wife of Aylmer, a vainglorious man with a deeper and more sincere attitude towards science then towards his own wife, which seems to have a visible mark of imperfection for him [p.2225]. To get his attention Georgiana decided to remove this birthmark from her cheek. Aylmers himself, makes the liquid to remove the mark but soon after she drinks it she dies. All she wanted is to get rid of a crimson stain upon the snow, which imperfectly defined its shape amid the surrounding rosiness[p.2226]. Aylmer gets what he wants no birthmark on Georgianas cheek, but there is no Georgiana anymore to adore him and to love. Here, Georgiana is driven by the only desire she has to make Aylmer notice her and to fulfill his wish. Being so imperfect for Aylmer, she becomes a real perfection for the author. Her loving heart was ready to do anything to be perfect for her beloved husband. Her heart, full of love and her character reveals the difference between her and her husband. It reveals the abyss between the values of genders and the supremacy of the values of women. The driving force for Hawthornes women is love, dedication and trust; it has nothing to do with the rationalism depicted in the male characters in the stories. Another example of Hawthornes perception of women is brightly observed in Rappaccinis daughter. Here, the females character name is Beatrice. She is the daughter of Doctor Rappaccini and at the same time she is just an experiment in his practice. He spoils her life by poisoning her with his plants, making her a poisonous human being not able to contact the people around her and therefore being lonely, poisonous as she is beautiful as he defines her [p.2251]. Doctor Rappaccini tries to do the same thing with a young man Giovanni in order to create a perfect match for Beatrice. When Giovanni reveals the vile plan of the doctor and get an antidote, he gives it to Beatrice. But, unfortunately it is too late for the young woman Her father has done such a great job in changing her that the antidote does not help but kills her. Here, Beatrice is shown as a victim of her fathers obsession on experiments. Though she herself is not the perfection in the authors understanding he shows her as a being able to be different but being a victim of a low person, a person who does not seem to possess human qualities. The selfishness of this man is opposed to Beatrices helplessness towards his influence. Beatrice trusts everything that her father tells her, believing in him and loving him with every single heart-cell. In this story Hawthornes portrays a sensitive and devoted woman that is eager to follow her father and obey his every single word.
Hawthornes women suffer a lot and often die. Nevertheless, he reveals a lot of sympathy towards his women. He considers their spiritual worlds to be immense and profound, worth of respect and deep admiration. Society and men in particular pretend to be God and try to change these delicate, gentle, loving and pure human beings. Men in Hawthornes works are vainglorious and pride for their achievements is the only thing in this world that makes them happy.
4. The authors definition of a woman. Analyzing Nathaniel Hawthornes works it is necessary to say that the image of women in them is distinctively positive. He outlines their strong ability to dedicate themselves and to truly love. The biography of the author has definitely influenced this point of view because a widowed mother raised him along with two sisters two and later on he married a great woman and grew up two wonderful daughters.The examples of the suffering women have to go through to survive gave him the base of believing that women are spiritually stronger and posses the most important qualities for a human being ability to love unconditionally and to do anything in the name of trust and faith for the loved person. Nathaniel Hawthorne deeply respects women and proves it with his every single work. The drama of his works concerning women is that their actions are not meritoriously valued and stay imperceptible for the people around them. The definition of a woman by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a synthesis of all the virtues and extreme endurance for the actions taken against them.
Conclusion: Nathaniel Hawthorne made an outstanding work in depicting the character of a woman in his works. This makes it easy to assume that he was a loving father and husband. His interpretation of a woman is very deep and his sympathy to women is easily observed in his every single work. He reveals the real nature of women and tells the reader what is their power. He sees this immense power in the ability to stay true to their feelings, to trust and to love. For the first time a woman is shown as a force, as a power that opposes mens rationalism and perception of the world. The image of a woman in Hawthornes works is a calling to the men around. It is a calling to stop evaluating the world in terms of rationalism and start feeling and valuing what they have and all the things that women do in order to make them feel happy.Here, men are shown weak and inflexible, ignorant and impassive. Could be this is only a unilateral point of view, nevertheless it is obvious that Hawthornes women are the ones that will sacrifice their lives for the people they love and dedicate every second of their lived to them.
o Lauter, Paul The health anthology of American literature/third edition /1997
o Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown and other short stories/Dover Publications/1992.