From Margaret B.
Moore’s The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. University of Missouri Press, p. 131.
. . . The disappearance of the Indian may have been
inevitable, but he [Hawthorne] deplored the sometime cruelty of the white
man--or woman. In "The Duston
Family" it is Mrs. Duston, not the Indian, who is seen as the
cruelest. Hawthorne's portrayal of the
Indian as savage and wild, even though sometimes surpassed by the cruelty of
the settlers, especially women, was in contrast to some of the writings of that
time. . . .
As the role of Mrs. Duston might suggest, another
issue of the day was that of the place of women, and particularly the proper
education they should have.
Source: Moore, Margaret B. The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Columbia:
U of Missouri P, 1998.