Her character is influenced and impacted significantly because of her punishment of having to wear the scarlet letter. It has also made an impact on her daughter Pearl as well. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne goes under some remarkable changes with
Previously to this passage, the sunlight would not shine on Hester when Hester was wearing the Scarlet Letter. As soon as Hester takes off the scarlet letter, a symbol of the Puritan community, her hair is described as “with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance”(186). The light is reclaiming Hester now that she has truly separated from the Puritan community. The last time that the sunlight claimed Hester in this way was when she was on the scaffold and separate from the Puritan community, however, she was not happy then. In the passage, Hester is described with words associated with light, such as “beamed”, “radiant”, and “glowing”(186).
For instance, she had to pledge, judge, and urge for the separation to not take place because it would affect them both equally. As evidence, “He looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester 's public ignominy” that indicates how Hester was put forth once again by the public for the same sin that was committed. However, the second it was far more important because she was fighting for her daughter, Pearl’s hostility. Hester is shown at a low and vulnerable position in her life once again which could quickly be mistaken for weakness, that not exactly being the case because she is known to overcome her huge opticals. To many the way, Hawthorne characterizes Hester Prynne it may be complicated, but considering that her character has gone through a lot it is made clear that the character is not being dramatic but
In order to escape the frequent ridicule, Hester changed her actions and revealed to the Boston community that she was able to combat the fierce insults and persevere. Hester began her transformation with the initial acceptance and acknowledgement of her sin. She furthered her metamorphosis with the decision to overlook the attitudes and demeanors of those around her and assist all who either lacked necessities or sought ornate embroidery. The alteration from “adulteress” to “able” was not caused incidentally, Hester Prynne changed the meaning with her
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him”, Daniel 9:9. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Hester Prynne as a kind, strong, and humble character. Although as Hester sins, this does not define her as a person or take away from her value as a person. Hester is a humble person throughout the entire book because she is always caring nice and honest. As Hester is appointed for adultery and admits to it, she is completely honest and doesn’t lie and straight forward with the townspeople.
John Updike described Hester Prynne, the main protagonist, as “a mythic version of every woman’s attempt to integrate her sexuality with societal demands.” In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was used as a symbol of women’s struggle and acceptance to meet society’s expectations as a woman and especially as a wife. These expectations being; loyal, the proper mom for her child and following the guidelines of the Bible by not committing any sins, etc. She was labeled as an adulterer but above everything else she became a power identity and a symbol of bravery. Before understanding why Hester was a mythic version for all these reasons, it is important to first understand who Hester is, what she did and why she is such a crucial character in this 1850 romance novel. Hester Prynne is mother of Pearl whom she had through an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale.
This is the society Hawthorne portrays in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne faced one such discipline, in the form of a scarlet ‘A’ for adultery. She is forced to wear this letter upon her clothing, and made a social exile. Despite these harsh punishments, Hawthorne believed that keeping the sin to yourself was even worse. Hawthorne proved through Hester and Dimmesdale that hiding sin, above all, has a negative effect on the sinner; and that revealing sin will free you.
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.
Hester’s attractiveness is evident in this quote and displays an image of a young woman who had exquisite beauty, just through his use of descriptive words such as “richness.” Hawthorne also wrote that Hester’s beauty had returned by writing “her beauty, came back from what men call an irrevocable past”, meaning that there was a point where she wasn’t as attractive, or at all. However it also means that before her
Hester Prynne now starts to live a non-social life and works from home by illustrating her broidery talent into works and clothing that she can sell. Her life suddenly turns to be lonely and almost completely miserable. Nevertheless, that all begins to change with the birth of her daughter. Hester’s gem is in the body of the tiny, little infant: “But she named the daughter ‘Pearl’, as being of great price—purchased with all she had—her mother’s only treasure!” (Hawthorne 41). The sad woman, Hester, commences to watch her delightful child grow each day; and each day she grows more beautiful, more intelligent than the last (Hawthorne 41).