Among the many positive changes that the industrial revolution brought about. the most outstandin0 one was the impact it had on the lives of women. Before this period, the responsibilities of women have limited to house chores and non-technical duties such as repairing clothes. Their primary responsibility was to raise children. This notion and stereotype began changing as the revolution unfolded. For instance, many small farmers were forced to relocate from their small lands after the Enclosure Movement and Agrarian Revolution. Most women were affected by this mass women. Those who moved were forced to migrate to urban centers where they had to look for work in mines and factories to earn a Living. During this time, gender inequality was highly rampant as females were perceived to be inferior. Women were less valued at the workplace and paid wages that were much less than their male counterparts. They were paid almost 50% less than men. Moreover, women were subjected to aggravating working conditions. Most of the works they were engaged in were dangerous and tiring.
With resilience, women began getting into the workforce as they now had access to opportunities that they did not have back when they lived in rural areas. They took advantage of the socialist values that sprung up during the industrial revolution. Workers began advocating for equal rights. better working conditions, and better pay. Ideologies such as utopian socialism and Marxism led to the emergence of the labor movement. At around the same time, various feminist movements started coming up, advocating for gender equality. For women, the first agenda they had was to advocate for equal voting rights even before trying to achieve equality with men. This fete was achieved when the government extended voting rights to women in the early 1900s
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The Scaffold In The Scarlet Letter
In addition to being a symbol of sin, the scaffold represents shame and guilt. When Hester is seen on the scaffold in the opening chapters, she hides the scarlet letter “A” because the letter is viewed as a symbol of shame and guilt: “When the young women – the mother of this child – stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom: not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress.” (Hawthorne 36-37) And because the infant, Pearl, was the product of the adulterous affair between Hester and Dimmesdale, Hester doesn’t provide the full motherly affection.
While standing on the scaffold, Hester also tries to “hide” herself from the crowd, since she can’t take the harsh reality: “Reminiscence…came swarming back to her…Possibly, it was an instinctive device of her spirit, to relieve itself, by the exhibition of these phantasmagoric forms, from the cruel weight and hardness of reality.” (Hawthorne 40) On the other hand, the second scaffold scene features an important character, Arthur Reverend Dimmesdale. One faulty thing about Dimmesdale’s personality is that he is afraid of what the public thinks of him: “It is inconceivable, the agony with which this public veneration tortured him!
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