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Title: A Summary of Nina Baym’s Article

Name: Sarah Furlong

2728 16 Avenue SE
Address: Calgary, AB
T2A 0M4

Course: English 344: American Literature I

Instructor: Robert Wiznura

Assignment: 1-A: Summary

Date: February 12, 2018

Topic: “Revisiting Hawthorne’s Feminism”

Body of paper, p. 1
Works Cited, p. 2
In “Revisiting Hawthorne’s Feminism,” Nina Baym continues to argue her long-

standing point that Nathaniel Hawthorne is a feminist author. Baym addresses the fact

that “The Scarlet Letter” was originally interpreted by many critics as a story centered

around Arthur Dimmesdale and his reluctance to give into the temptation of seductress

Hester Prynn. Baym goes on to say that it seems quite evident that Hawthorne is writing

from a feminist perspective, given that he frequently depicts strong-minded, “real”

women who are incompatible with society’s domesticated, “fantasy” woman. Baym

explains how she interprets Hawthorne’s novel; as a quixotic tale of an iron-willed

woman who finally discovers her fair and proper place in a puritanical and patriarchal

society in which she has been facing oppression for quite some time. Baym goes on to

say that she arrived at her conclusion by analyzing Hawthorne’s personal life as well as

the culture in which he was entrenched at the time that his novel was penned.

Furthermore, Baym explains that there is a myriad of theories regarding the interpretation

and understanding of gender issues in Hawthorne’s novels, many of which conflict with

her own viewpoint. Baym explains that her theory of Hawthorne’s feminist stance

originates from the fact that many of his novels focus on self-sufficient and bright young

women who must deal with an oppressive male society. She also asserts that at the time

“The Scarlet Letter” was written, Hawthorne had become aware of the feminist condition

through personal relationships he shared with independent female artists and writers.

Baym’s article is a comprehensive explanation of her view that Hawthorne did indeed

write “The Scarlet Letter” (and others) from a feminist point of view.
Works Cited

Baym, Nina. “Revisiting Hawthorne’s Feminism.” The Scarlet Letter and Other
Writings: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism. Edited by Leland S. Person.
Norton Critical Edition, W. W. Norton & Company, 2005.