Comparing The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne to The Other by de Beauvoir

Essay by RoodyPooUSHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2002

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In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne describes Hester as an enigma of womankind instilling his views of Puritanism and the role of the woman into the heroine. In de Beauvoir's essay, The Other, she introduces the role of woman as seen by men in society. Both writers have developed a clear idea of the purpose of woman in society. Yet there are variations in their beliefs on woman's role in society. Each author advocates an ideal relationship between men and women. Even now, some of the writer's perceptions on the relationships between man and woman are still shared by a large number of people, but there have been many changes since The Scarlet Letter and The Other were published. Each author has, in his or her own way, conveyed a strong idea of the model woman and her place in the bonds of community.

Hawthorne and de Beauvoir have unique views of females.

De Beauvoir believes that men see women as the inferior sex and they are subordinates to men. Hawthorne, on the other hand, feels that although most women are lower in status than men, some women in society can have more prestige than men. De Beauvoir thinks that men have an unfair advantage in society and that a woman, no matter how perfect, is no better than any man. Yet, Hawthorne refutes this belief by making Hester seem to be better and stronger than Chillingworth and Dimmesdale. At the end, Hester even is revered and envied by all the townspeople. De Beauvoir seems to believe that woman has no influence on society, yet Hawthorne's portrayal of Hester makes readers believe that she may have softened the Puritan's view on adultery and other crimes.

Both authors' judgments of females' dependency on males are strongly affirmed. Man seems to be...