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Envy of the Procreative Power of Women in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Assignment id 1016607
Discipline Self Improvement
Assignment type Essay
Words 2570
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Envy of the Procreative Power of Women in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel about procreation. Although Hester Prynne is the mom of Pearl and the inventor of the scarlet letter from the novel, Hawthorne is the symbolic mother of this novel, the letter, and the figures. Careful analysis of the text shows a pattern of womb envy and an effort to master it to the part of Hawthorne. The idea of womb envy - envy of the procreative power of women (Kittay 126) - has been virtually ignored by both psychoanalysts and literary critics because Bruno Bettelheim initially introduced the idea. Though meant as a supplement to the concepts of penis envy and the Oedipal complex developed by Freud, uterus jealousy hasn't generated the attention that penis envy has. This could in part be because of Freud's interpretation of the needs of the males in his case study to bear children as be "anal, autoerotic, or gay" in character. (Kittay 127). Since Freud dismissed the chance of men's envy of women's childbirthing skills, almost all of his followers have too. The disparity in the approval of Freud's and Bettelheim's concepts can be seen in psychoanalytic criticisms from the literary universe. Cases of "penis envy" and "Oedipal complex" readings abound. Hamlet's desire for his mother causes him such guilt he resurrects his father and goes insane. Gertrude's promiscuous and incestuous marriage to her late husband's brother Claudius is a symbolic effort to acquire a penis. Virginia Woolf's invented sister of Shakespeare is a symbolic penis. At exactly the exact same time, few literary critics have tried to explain personality or author motivation concerning womb envy, regardless of the fa...

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