Hester Prynne: A Sinner Or Saint

975 Words4 Pages
In a legalistic society, people adhere to strict moral codes, punishing and isolating transgressors. Hester Prynne, in the fiction that I have read recently--The Scarlet Letter is an example of the transgressor-adulteress. Hester breaks the social laws, and thus, is considered a sinner, condemned to wearing the stigmatizing ‘A’, lying in her bosom for Adultery. With this symbol of sin, Hester suffers despise and isolation. Yet, later, Hester Prynne has done charitable acts due to her repentance, achieving saintliness. In terms of saint and sinner, people think that Hester Prynne must cater to one or the other. However, based on the reading and research, I believe Hester Prynne is neither a sinner nor a saint because she was so helpful and kind…show more content…
A famous example would be Mary Magdalene. In a research paper conducted about her, Mary is identified as both a beloved follower of Jesus--the first to whom Jesus appeared after he was resurrected, and a sinner--a prostitute. In the paper, Lisa Merry eventually favors one side and claim that Mary is a saint not sinner. (3) Yet, in spite of the effort Lisa offered to portray Mary as a Saint, the counterargument of Mary Magdalene as a sinner continues.

Same debate applies to the ‘saint and sinner’ theme of Hester Prynne, many people would surly stand on one of the extremes of the thread. Some people may point out that Hester is an ultimate sinner. It sounds pretty reasonable. In puritans’ views, repentance is a life-long activity—it goes deeper than remorse into an essential change. In an article The Puritan View of Holiness, repentance is “ a hating the thing I loved before” (Beeke). Obviously, Hester disobeyed the rule of repentance.

However, sanctification of the puritan times is paradoxical, emphasizing both repentance and righteousness. While, Hester is not truly repentant, she seems to compensate for her sin through the doctrine of righteousness. “What you do and say reflects who you are within” (Beeke). Through all the kind acts, Hester’s inside should be as pristine as that of a
Open Document