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According to Encyclopedia Britannica Feminism is the belief in the social economic and political equality of the sexes The early feminist movements in the 19th century which questioned womans role in The Cult of Domesticity manifested its influence through one of literatures first feminist Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne begins with emphasizing the prison that defiles the sanctity of any man or woman who walks through the rust on the ponderous ironwork of its oaken door pg 50 Then he strongly introduces Hester Prynne as an independent and spirited woman who would not even allow herself to be escorted out of the doors of the prison Stretching forth the official staff in his left hand he laid his right upon the shoulder of a young women whom thus drew forward until on the threshold of the prison-door she repelled him by an action marked with dignity and force of character and stepped into the open air as if by her own free will pg 54 Despite the onlookers cold contempt she stepped out of the prison as if by her own free will marked with dignity and force of character This exposition of Hesters bravery challenged the common literary creed of its time A woman Hester Prynne was bestowed with the qualities of a brave and driven man Free will force of character and dignity distinguished Hester Prynne Throughout Hawthornes work Hester Prynnes role as a feminist is attested through her gentility After suffering degrading humiliation Hester Prynne welcomes distressed ones with her breast and its badge of shamebut with the softer pillow for the head that needed one pg 167 Prynnes strength is exhibited with her hand present at the need of others Interestingly Hawthorne then goes on to write how others recognized Hesters scarlet letter as representative of strength and endurance rather than of sin and ignominy many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by
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