In The Scarlet Letter, Hester is exiled from her community because of her sins. Although everyone in the town sins, it is the way Hester’s were presented to them that makes her seem so wrong. They could not accept their faults, so instead, oppressed Hester and Pearl. “Thus the young and pure Would be taught to look At her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,... -as the figure I the body.
Not only could Hester not work to her full ability, she also was shamed by the public. While she was to stand on the scaffolding, the townswomen would whisper about Hester. “There was, moreover, a boldness and rotundity of speech among these matrons, as most of them seemed to be” (Hawthorn pg. 35 ) Hester faced judgment from the townspeople no matter how hard she worked to achieve a better life. As time passed their shaming went down, but she was never able to have a normal place in their society, because everyone's first impression of her would the the red letter of her
Hester wonders if he is seeking revenge, but he forgives her. However, the fact that he stays in town and tells Hester not to tell anyone he is her husband makes it seem as if he is going to seek revenge. Chapter five begins with Hester being released from prison and her moving to the outskirts of a town in a cottage away from everyone in order to avoid getting ridiculed everyday. However, she stays in Boston where everyone know her sins in order to feel the pain of her sins. Hester had no social life due to her sins and was condemned in the streets by ministers who began sermons on sins at the sight of
First, Hester was lonely. According to the article, …” without a friend on earth who dared visit her, she was never in danger of going hungry” (Ch. 5, Hawthorne). Nobody wanted to talk to Hester for committing adultery. In the book it said “ Perhaps people felt sorry for her...”
Although this is a very serious sin, Hester’s reputation is redeemable. One of the ways she can achieve redemption is by serving the punishment of being stared at by “. . . a thousand relenting eyes. . .” (Hawthorne 54) on the scaffold in the town square. By serving the socially accepted punishment, Hester is able to start redeeming her reputation in the eyes of society.
Enough evidence was given in the book that Hester deserves the punishment. To prove that she does, Hester was raised as a Puritan so she knew what would be the consequences she has committed adultery and is left with a baby alone to raise without a father role model. As well she is not suited to be a mother. She can’t keep Pearl.
On the other hand Hester doesn’t want or try getting attention through her actions. Also she becomes an outcast of the Puritan community and she slowly finds her way back through hard work and showing she cares. Secondly the way the two characters
Hester was initially married to a man whom she never loved and was thought to be dead after being lost at sea for five years. After waiting for the arrival of her husband which never came, Hester had an affair with another man and together they produced a child. When Hester had an affair with a man who was not her husband she had committed an act of adultery and had to be punished in the eyes of God and of her community. It was decided that Hester would have to serve time in jail and
She receives three punishments from the townspeople, who claim they will free her from her sin. The community orders Hester to go to jail, wear a scarlet letter on her chest, and stand on the town scaffold for hours. Hester wears her scarlet letter proudly on her chest, and endures much suffering because of her public ridicule. Hester is “kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement” after she was released from prison, but she chooses to stay (Hawthorne 71). Later, Hester’s child, Pearl, symbolizes the Puritan view of Hester.
Throughout the novel, Hester is fraught by the Puritan society and her suffering is an effect of how evil society is. Hester continues to believe that the crime she committed was not wrong and she should not be punished for it. Her desire to protect and love Dimmesdale, turn her into a stronger person and become a heroine in the book. Although society still views her as a “naughty baggage” (Hawthorne 73) and is punished for her wrongdoing, Hester never thought to take revenge on them, yet she gives everything she has to the unfortunate and leaves herself with very little. She continues to stay positive no matter what society has for her.
Considering the townspeople’s reactions toward Hester’s sin of adultery, it can be concluded that in the Puritan era, religion was of utmost importance, and the Puritans met sins with extremely harsh punishments. Because the majority of the Puritan town viewed Hester as a disgrace, she became “Lonely . . . and without a friend on earth” (56). This made it effortless for the inhabitants of the town to continue to insult and degrade Hester because they did not care to learn her true personality. While a few civilians had sympathy for Hester, the town mostly regarded her as shameful and
She realized that everyone will eventually find out about the sin, so she became courageous and took responsibility for her action. After she had completed her punishment in prison, she moved to a cottage. Hester was guilty for what she had done, but she started to help the poor, even though they rejected her. The guilt deprived her from all the “joys [of life] [because] she rejected it as sin” (Hawthorne 130) Hester ceased enjoying anything that a normal person would think as amusing because it was wrong for her since she became the outcast of the town.
She cannot be defined by just one label, but both. She is a mother to Pearl, who is a child born from adultery. She is a caregiver, seamstress, a lover, and a counselor, but the Puritanical society Hester lives in constantly reminds her that she is just a whore. By subscribing to this label, Hester loses her identity in a way. The effect of being an outsider due to the letter causes her to become a shell of her former self.
Although publicly admitting to sin can be a challenging task, time will heal the initial pain. Hester Prynne, of the Scarlet Letter, lives this lesson as she commits the sin of adultery. Her punishment for the sin is to wear the letter “A” on her bosom until she is allowed to remove it by the Puritan authorities wishes. Initially, Hester feels guilt and shame as she wears it. As Hester’s character grows in strength, she overcomes the letter’s original purpose of punishment.