The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter written in the 1800’s is a novel about a Puritan society in the 1600’s. A Puritan is a religious person who believe that pleasure is evil. The novel is about a young, beautiful women named Hester Prynne. She has committed adultery and is forced to wear a scarlet letter A in shame. A baby girl resulted from the sinful act, named Pearl.
She was an outcast to society and would never be accepted because she was considered the child of sin. Hawthorne says, “...whose place was on that same dishonored bosom,...” (Ch 6, 77), this shows that not only is the scarlet letter symbolic to the adultery, but Pearl is also a lasting symbol of Hester’s sin. Chapter 6, Pearl, is entirely dedicated to the child and it is in this chapter the Pearl states, “ “He did not send me!” cried she positively.
Hester's divine beauty outshines others corrupt beliefs of her. While Hester walks stumbles out the prison doors and onto the dreaded scaffold, Hawthorne describes Hester as "the young woman [who] was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance, on a large scale" (40). Hester Prynne is being publicly shamed for the act of adultery she committed along with the minister who condemns her. She is forced to stand on the scaffold and beat the sorrow of he sins with the scarlet letter "A" on her bosom to represent her shameful acts. This mark of embarrassment serves a purpose to make her appear unrighteous, but the author chooses to focus on her beauty, which outshines this emblem.
Hester dislikes the fact that the “scarlet letter” may be perceived as a sign of weakness, and instead learns to be empowered by the “A”. Ultimately, Hester actively made a positive impact on the community and proceeds to raise pearl, her child, without any assistance from Roger or Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester exemplifies her independence through her ability to maintain financial stability while raising her daughter and working. Hester eventually morphs the public's view of the scarlet letter into something positive. The narrator says, “many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification.
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
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.
Although she is looked down upon by the society in the beginning of the novel, she is transformed into a symbol of strength, something typically reserved for men, towards the end of the novel. “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her,—so much power to do, and power to sympathize,—that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne 146). Through her suffering, Hester had become an inspiring symbol of strength for the community.
He shows how Hester highly values ideals such as independence, honor, love, and freedom. As a result of showing the morals of Hester, Hawthorne is able to show the true meanings of his work. He demonstrates how although Hester is known in the city as a sinner, the city is full of sinners and Hester, in reality, is representing an angel who stands up for what she believes in. Through the process of showing Hester’s Sacrifices affect what her true values are, Hawthorne is able to show the larger picture and the true meaning of the themes of the
Even though the Puritans may have designated the letter as a representation of sin, Hester’s renewed sense of pride does not want society to define the A for her. Rather Hester wants to define it herself and by doing so she develops responsibility and power over her own actions. Because Hester has the power to change who she is, she also has the power to change what the Scarlet Letter represents. By letting the letter be “embroidered with gold thread” readers are able to see how for Hester sin is not something to be fearful of; furthermore, it allows one to see how Hester has developed into an independent individual who accepts who she is and the situation she is presented with. Hester’s lover unfortunately
We are all sinners, no matter how hard we try to hide our faults, they always seem to come back, one way or another. Written in the 19th century, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us Hester Prynne and how one sin can change her life completely. Hester Prynne changes a great deal throughout The Scarlet Letter. Through the view of the Puritans, Hester is an intense sinner; she has gone against the Puritan way of life committing the highest act of sin, adultery. For committing such a sinful act, Hester must wear the scarlet letter while also having to bear stares from those that gossip about her.
Furthermore, the “A” also symbolized many things in the community of Boston during Puritan times. The way the people treated Hester because of her sin revealed the strong beliefs of the community. It exposed how the community wanted sinless people and would not accept anyone who had sinned; even though everyone, including their reverend, was a sinner. However, the “A” did not always represent adultery as in did in Dimmesdale’s and Hester’s life. When the governor passed away, the community saw the same meteor as Dimmesdale but brought a much different meaning from it.
She is a beautiful, young woman who has sinned, but is forgiven. Hawthorne portrays Hester as "divine maternity" and she can do no wrong. Not only Hester, but also the physical scarlet letter, a sign of shame, is shown as a beautiful, gold and colorful piece which
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published in 1850. It focuses on the life of the main protagonist, Hester Prynne, living in a Puritan community. Both Yamin Wang and Maria Stromberg offer insight into The Scarlet Letter and analyze multiple aspects of the story.. Both Wang and Stromberg claim that there is an underlying ideology hidden in the texts of the book. Wang approaches the story from a feminist approach and states that Hester represents the feminism in the Puritan community, and she analyzes the Puritan’s outlook on women in their society.
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.
As stated in chapter six, "Her [Hester] only real comfort was when the child lay in the placidity of sleep. Then she was sure of her, and tasted hours of quiet, sad, delicious happiness; until—perhaps with that perverse expression glimmering from beneath her opening lids—little Pearl awoke!" (Hawthorne X) Pearl is Hester 's greatest treasure, but she cost Hester everything. Because of Pearl, Hester has no chance at a happy life, but Pearl brings her happiness. Pearl is almost like a paradox.