© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Women and Femininity Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle. (5.6).

Right, ladies? Don't you all just loooooove to sit down by the fire and do a little embroidery or—hey, let's not be greedy—even mend a few of your husband's shirts?

No? Huh. Okay, Hawthorne.

Quote #5

By degrees, nor very slowly, her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion….But it is not recorded that, in a single instance, her skill was called in aid to embroider the white veil which was to cover the pure blushes of a bride. The exception indicated the ever relentless vigor with which society frowned upon her sin. (5.6).

Obviously. You can't have Hester's sinful, sexy hands embroidering a bride's veil. It might, like, infect her with cooties, or something. (Also, history fail: it's entirely unlikely that the Puritans actually wore bridal veils. It's cool, Hawthorne. We'll allow you some poetic license.)

Quote #6

The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, —so much power to do, and power to sympathize, —that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength. (13.3)

World's Strongest Woman sounds like much less of a spectator sport than World's Strongest Man: more sewing clothes for the poor and ladling soup than pulling a Boeing 767.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement