Essay On Hester Prynne

560 Words3 Pages
The essay “Hester Prynne,” by Mark Van Doren, praises the character Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter. The Puritan society in the novel prohibits its citizens to express individuality and condemns those who do not follow the law. Even in this society, however, Prynne persists with her own beliefs, while not causing harm to others. Mark Van Doren, applying an admiring tone, simple diction, and explicit literary allusion, portrays highly of Hester Prynne in his essay. Van Doren’s use of admiring tone allows readers to readily agree upon with his statements about Hester Prynne. In the essay, he comments that “she is set to cast a spell over those who behold her” (Van Doren). The portrayal of Hester mesmerizes him, therefore he delivers statements about her with confidence, in an admiring tone. In effect of this, the allure of Hester, which Van Doren creates, allows the audience to perceive her as a prominent woman figure, rather than a sinner. Van Doren also…show more content…
He portrays highly of her by stating that “she is the heroine of a tragedy” (Van Doren). By using words such as “heroine” and “tragedy,” he emphasizes Hester’s unique importance illustrated through her continuing love and daring actions during her life of despair. Another example of an impactful use of simple diction is evident when, he claims, “above all it is Hester Prynne, whose passion and beauty dominate every other person, and color each event” (Van Doren). His simple, yet euphonious diction choices attract readers’ attention in a sense that each sentence is picturesque. Also, indicating that she dominates every other person with her passion and beauty infers that Van Doren glorifies Hester. Overall, Van Doren makes an effective use of simple words to describe Hester because the readers can easily understand his
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