Who Is Hester's Strength In The Scarlet Letter

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A Bleak World’s Best Citizen: Rewrite #1 Mark Van Doren’s essay “Hester Prynne” expresses Van Doren’s warm admiration for Hester Prynne’s character in The Scarlet Letter. In Van Doren’s essay, the author elevates Hester Prynne, using his analysis to illustrate his belief in her morality, despite her harsh circumstances. He explores the reasons behind Hester’s strength throughout the novel, and in relation to other characters such as Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth. Van Doren effectively builds his argument by employing historical allusion, repetition, and emotional diction in his case for Hester Prynne. Van Doren incorporates historical allusion into his argument praising Hester Prynne in order to compare her worth to that of a literary and historical hero. Van Doren calls the author of The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, “the Homer of that New England, as Hester is its most heroic creature.” In this part of his essay, Van Doren makes a case for Hester Prynne by comparing her creator to a great Greek playwright; by admiring Hester as Homer’s ‘most heroic creature’, Van Doren makes a comparison between Hester Prynne and Odysseus. This use of historical allusion serves to reinforce Van Doren’s claims by establishing a connection between famous historical figures and the characters of The Scarlet Letter; Van Doren maintains that Hester’s beautiful looks, her morality in the “bleak world” she lives in, and her god-like…show more content…
The author of “Hester Prynne” uses historical allusion, repetition, and emotional diction to effectively argue that Hester’s character is deserving of praise. His points, while emphatic, also persuade readers through logic and passion; Van Doren reveals Hester’s kindness towards undeserving villagers, her undying perseverance in the face of Chillingsworth’s revenge, and her beauty, caused by her morality, for all to
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