Essay On Hester Prynne

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In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes the life of Hester Prynne as a struggle with society, forced to wear a scarlet "A" as a public reminder and shaming of the adultery she has committed. However, her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, must only live with the guilt of the deed, rather than being shamed by the Puritan world. Indeed, the novel demonstrates the strength of the oppressed against the weakness of the privileged when both are plagued with shame or guilt.
At the beginning, the town assembles as Hester Prynne displays her wicked scarlet A, representing the unholy deed of adultery she has committed. The town scrutinizes her, feeling she deserved worse, that “they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead"
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The members of Puritan society all pressure the wickedness of Hester’s deed, and their condescending manner puts Hester in an oppressed position, both as an adulterer, and as a woman. As the woman in the adultery, she must take the public shame and care for the daughter, Pearl, who is in her arms as she stands on the scaffold, “a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her, and concentered at her bosom” (Hawthorne 10). But despite the prejudice Hester must endure from society, rises much stronger and utilizes the scarlet letter to increase her worth. The book alludes to Anne Hutchinson, who “led a group of religious dissenters” and this allusion “even anticipates the scarlet letter that she wears” (Themes). Hester starts to wear the A with pride, making it her own, and turned her problems into solutions. Even the members of Puritan society “were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped” (Hawthorne 7). She wore misfortune as a badge, and used the A in her own terms. Sally Buckner explains that despite Hester’s isolation from Puritan society and the normal people, she has “come to terms
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