International Journal of English Literature and Culture

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International Journal of English Literature and Culture

Vol. 2(6), pp. 68-72, June, 2014

 ISSN: 2360-7831

DOI: 10.14662/IJELC2014.016


Between passion and sin: a postmodern Feminist approach to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter


Jayasimha P.


Dhanekula Institute of Engg & Technology, Ganguru, Vijayawada – 521139. Ph: 9491678208.

E-mail: jayasimhachaudhury@gmail.com


Accepted 28 May 2014




Nathaniel Hawthorne as a romantic writer achieved a special position among the American writers who never borrowed new themes and motifs outside their social milieu. This paper explores the Postmodern Feminist critical approach to emotional behavior of major characters towards the woman character. The central woman character that has been portrayed as a sinner for her original sin of adultery, want of freedom from social restrictions and a desire to grow as an individual with a hope of strong support from a sinful puritan ‘man’. This paper invites readers’ commonsense to understand the relation between human passions and morality where the American woman has become a victim of puritan morality rather than social morality.
Keeping aside all the established theories of genre traditions the postmodern feminist approach to woman’s morality and freedom in the middle of social restrictions that emerged from religious moral policing in the novel have been dealt and analyzed. Woman’s moral individuality was strictly scrutinized by men in the name of religious outcast of a sin, much attributed only to woman, called ‘Adultery’. The Postmodern feminists do not necessarily magnify the design of religious morality but the way men politicize and utilize such situations in order to curb woman’s individuality and independence. The American woman who had been waiting for her turn to grab the fruits of modernity equally with men, was deceived by the men’s domination.
This paper informs the reader about how ‘Hester’, the central woman character suffered at the hands of hopeless men who drew her life’s boundaries. It also analyzes the postmodern elements that contribute to the real identity of nineteenth century American woman being emphatically shown as suppression of women by Hawthorne in “The Scarlet Letter”. The moral restrictions conditioned in the novel have affected woman’s passions; derived her real happiness and freedom beyond the man made moral and religious systems of marriage and post-marital life. Man’s systems of morality and hypocrisy tampered womanhood and her privacy to choose a life beyond her tolerance and patience.

Keywords: Postmodernism, feminism, moral wilderness, Puritanism, sin, sinner, alienated woman




Current Issue: June 2014


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Inter. J. English Lit. Cult.

  Vol. 2 No. 6

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