Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nancy Davis

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The thesis focuses upon the possible influences of Margaret Fuller upon Nathaniel Hawthorne's creation of Hester in The Scarlet Letter and Zenobia in The Blithedale Romance. It suggests that Hester and Zenobia are feminists who may owe much of their characterization as developed through their feminist arguments to Margaret Fuller, a nineteenth century feminist and acquaintance of Hawthorne's. Hawthorne and Fuller are placed in historical context within the feminist movement of the nineteenth century by examining some of the leading feminists and their concerns regarding women's rights. Margaret Fuller's writings and ideas are examined, along with her relationship to Hawthorne. An analysis of the characters of Hester and Zenobia follows. The study concludes with a comparison of the striking similarities between Hester's and Zenobia's feminist arguments and those found in the writings of Margaret Fuller. The similarities are strong enough to warrant the possibility that Hawthorne may have used Fuller's printed arguments and modified them slightly for delivery by Hester in The Scarlet Letter and Zenobia in The Blithedale Romance.


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, North America | Women's Studies