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SOCIAL MATRIX AND CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER IDENTITY IN NATHANIEL HAWTHORN’S THE SCARLET LETTER
Corresponding Author(s) : Liaqat Iqbal
Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews,
Vol. 9 No. 3 (2021): May
Purpose of the study: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, already explored from different perspectives by many researchers, has relevance to the social matrix that how gender identity is constructed in the text. In order to explore this perspective, the study deals with the character of Hester Prynne as how she is deconstructing normative gender.
Methodology: For this purpose, the theory of ‘Imitation and Gender Insubordination’ presented by Butler (1993) has been applied. Secondly, the study tries to answer the gender identity of Hester Prynne by using Freudian ‘Identification of gender.’ Lastly, the work is concerned with Hester Prynne’s avoiding the danger of being leper and castaway. The last analysis owes itself to the Freudian understanding of psychoanalysis.
Main Findings: The findings show that gender is purely volatile and oscillating and is usually being constructed by feminist narratives, social appropriations, inborn congenital schema, and sexual orientations. Butler’s arguments get augmented in this study through the analysis of a few characters, particularly Hester Prynne’s, and it has indicated that through the application of Butler’s arguments on gender stance that gender is performative and hence, it has no real or inborn value/definitions. Therefore, it is inferred that gender is performative and is socially constructed.
Application of this study: This study has implications in literature in general, gender studies, and related fields in particular.
Novelty/Originality of this study: Though Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter had been written long before that has been explored from different perspectives, the present research is original and new in the sense that it brings social matrix and discusses gender issues in it both from the social and psychological interpretations.
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