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.
Hester is full of strength and hard work “As Hester Prynne builds a new life, her hard work and charity end up altering the letter’s meaning.” Hester is the person who changes the meaning of the letter. She does not let the letter “A” define her as something she is not. Hester ends up being a very helpful person in The Scarlet Letter and Hawthorne tells us that “The letter was a 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 significance” (146). People later realize that Hester has changed and become a wonderful woman who loves to help.
The townspeople “[began] to look upon the scarlet letter as a token, not of that one sin, for which she had borne so long and dreary a penance, but of her many good deeds since.” This quote exemplifies how sin is not a death sentence for Hester. Through hard work and charity it allowed the rigid Puritan society to see her as something different, and as someone who would not let society define who she was. Hester, thus, was not only able to change herself, but also the image in which society viewed her by working hard to benefit the public. Likewise, the scarlet letter which was supposed to represent sin was instead “fantastically embroidered with gold thread, upon her bosom.” 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.
Once Celie stands up for herself and speaks her mind to Mr. ____, she begins to feel happier and content with her life. Unlike her past self, who mindlessly obeys stereotypes and her husband, Celie acts more like Shug and disregards stereotypes in order to better her life. In Memphis, Celie eventually starts a business making pants, very different from the draining labor she had been doing back home. Celie becomes more independent, confident, and bold as she rejects the stereotypes she once relied on. As a result of dropping her old stereotypical tendencies, Celie is rewarded with an overwhelming surge of happiness and will to live.
Hester proves that she has a higher understanding for people and life, also a sense of honor based on her own principles not society’s. This perfectly fits the mold for a romantic hero. Towards the end of the novel, we learn that Pearl became a great women and Hester could have lived a great life with her wealthy daughter, yet she chose to return to Boston and live out her punishment. Now the book describes Hester’s final resting place, “It bore a device, a herald's wording of which might serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so somber is it, and relieved only by one ever-glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow:—"On a field, sable, the letter A, gules”(Hawthorne 259). So not only did Hester have completely different perspective than the Puritan society, but she managed to sway and change their opinion of a once infamous symbol.
However, it 's an uplifting novel despite it 's features of both rape and murder. The novel´s realism allows people of all backgrounds to be able to sympathize and understand the situation of losing someone close to them by unfortunate means. What Alice Sebold wants to convey to her readers is that although terrible situations can present themselves randomly, life goes on. It 's a choice one has to decide in order to learn to live with their past and live with themselves. Even the author herself had experienced a very similar encounter, yet she was determined to keep going; as a result, she has proven that there is light even in the darkest of
Though the town has isolated her, Hester is not completely alone, she has Pearl, who is meant to bring happiness to Hester. Although Pearl does bring happiness to Hester’s life and keeps her from getting lonely, Pearls purpose in the book is to be a challenge to the normality of the strict puritan society. Pearl helps push through the strict puritan expectation of everyone being innocent, by challenging Dimmesdale to come clean about his past. Arthur Dimmesdale is meant to be the epitome of innocence, he is the town minister and preaches purity. Although Dimmesdale preaches these topics, the town would be shocked to find out that he does not practice what he preaches and he had an affair with Hester Prynne.
Nonetheless, she does not let it stop her from living a life that she wants even though she was treated badly. When Sage asks about her tattoo, Minka says, “Everything before…well, that happened to a different person” (67). Minka understands that living in her past will bring her everything but happiness. That is the reason behind why she has let the past go and has started a new life. The idea that her past does not influence who she is today is also communicated with Minka keeping her tattoo covered.
She is also taking on her emotions, no longer hiding behind her feelings which she uses to evidently give Dimmesdale renewed energy and hope in himself. We see that with her time as the woman with the scarlet letter, she develops and in the end through her honesty and strength, this gets her through her struggles in her unfortunate position, she ends up as a survivor. We see her live while Dimmesdale dies from guilt and Chillingworth by his own revenge, she ends up as a legend in the Colony because she grows with the letter and finds peace while battling her challenges contrary to being
He emphasizes the good and evil of human nature by providing his characters with both good and evil qualities. The evolution of the ways of life through generations is reflected into the novel by the ideas of his characters. Although Hester and Dimmesdale have sinned, they are able to reach redemption through the author’s acceptance of human nature as a whole. Hester has struggled through humiliation and shame, but her strength throughout her journey has helped her to lose the shame of the scarlet letter and gain independence to further her life and escape the judgment and criticism of the town. As for Dimmesdale, the revealing of his secret as well as the love and acceptance from both Hester and Pearl allow him to reach peace through his death.