Gender in The Scarlet Letter

| September 30, 2015

Essay Topic: Gender in The Scarlet Letter Approach Gender is a major preoccupation of cultural and literary studies. What can be learned about how gender may be culturally constructed from studying Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter? And how does such gender construction illuminate that novel? Essay Prompt Where do you see gender assumptions and inferences at play in the narrative? What role do considerations of gender play in shaping Hawthorne’s handling of the story? Form a hypothesis about this and consider how it affects the ways in which Hawthorne seeks to control his readers’ understanding of the story’s characters and themes. In doing this, you may well anchor your interpretation in analysis of one character or relationship more than the others. However, this is not the same as just simply analyzing the characters. To do a college level analysis, you must get beyond the “character analysis” genre of high school by focusing on broader issues and patterns. To get started, I don’t recommend that you start with some general notion of gender. Instead, start with a specific passage that you think raises specific questions or problems of interpretation having to do with gender. Use this as the basis of your introduction. Don’t worry about your thesis. You can leave that till your conclusion if you wish. Use the introduction to launch a detailed analysis that will clarify what is involved for Hawthorne in the novel. In developing your analysis, QUOTE the text extensively. If you use secondary criticism, you must document all your sources properly using MLA style. Expected length: minimum 5 pages.

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Category: Article Critique

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