Hester Prynne: An American Romantic Heroine

923 Words4 Pages
American Romantic Heros was a common character type around 1820 to 1860. These characters are flawed and consist of many interesting traits, such as their attractive, youthful look. These American Romantic heroes are also put in similar situations that get them to be rejected from society. In The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of his characters, Hester Prynne, could be classified as an American Romantic Heroine. She has many attributes that are grouped with being an American Romantic Heroine, and they are even evident in the very beginning of the story. Hester Prynne is considered an American Romantic Heroine due to how she was rejected from society, and she was youthful and attractive in appearance. Hester’s sin: adultery,…show more content…
Hester’s youthful appearance and beauty are evident to everyone, but are especially so when she’s no longer burdened with wearing the scarlet letter, even if it was for a short period of time as shown by Hawthorne: “... she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter, and, taking it off her bosom, threw it to a distance… By another impulse, she took off the formal cap that confined her hair… and imparting the charm of softness to her features” (169). This quote is showing how when Hester decided to take off the scarlet letter and the formal cap, she regained some of her lost beauty. It says that Hester had taken off the letter and the cap and once she did, the charm and softness of her features were revealed. The word “charm”, also means attractive and alluring, so all of said beauty was brought back by this simple act of impulse. The use of the word “confined” also shows that the cap was holding back her beauty, and acted a bit like a prison. Another word for confined is inadequate, which could be Hawthorne’s way of showing that this cap was restricting her beauty, making her look inadequate to others and yet without the cap, her beauty is automatically restored. A little later on in the story, Hawthorne goes about saying, “A crimson flush was was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale. Her sex, her youth, and the whole richness of her beauty, came back from what men call the irrevocable past…” (167). 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
Open Document