In the novel, Hester is the character with the scarlet letter. She believes the scarlet letter is apart of her, that is why when she gets humiliated and shamed for it, she takes it with strength. Hester is so close to the letter ‘A’ that even when she has a chance to take it off she refuses. Hester does not want to take off the letter, but what she pleases to do is transform the meaning behind the letter with her actions. For instance, when she helps around the town she transforms into something majestical “ She was self-ordained a Sister of Mercy or, we may rather say, the world’s heavy hand so ordained her, when neither the world nor she looked forward to this result. The letter was a symbol of her calling.” (Hawthorne 158) Hester becomes somewhat of a nurse, but both the world and she do not see her this way. This is
The character of Hester Prynne changed significantly throughout the novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways, committing adultery. For this irrevocably harsh sin, she must wear a symbol of shame for the rest of her life.
First of all, the scarlet letter stands for Hester's sin. By forcing Hester to wear the letter A on her bosom, the Puritan community not only punishes this weak young woman for her adultery but labels her identity as an adulteress and immoral human being as well. "Thus the young and the pure would be taught to look at her, with the letter flaming on her chest", also "as the figure, the body and the reality of sin." And the day Hester began to wear the scarlet A on her bosom is the opening of her darkness. From that moment, people, who look at her, must notice the letter A manifest itself in the red color covering not only her bosom, but her own character. The Puritans now only see the letter A, the representation of sin, scorn and hate
What is the significance of the scarlet letter A which is embroidered on Hester’s gown?
In The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne is more than a literary figure in a classic novel, she is known by some people to be one of the earliest American Hero’s. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Hester commits adultery and has a child that she must care for all alone. She is forced to wear a powerful, attention grabbing “Scarlet A” on her chest while she must try to make a living to support her and her child, Pearl. Even though she must face all the harsh judgment and stares she does not allow her sin to stop her from living a successful life. She looks past the Letter as a symbol of sin and turns it into a sign of approval. Hester
As Chico Xavier once said, “Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning... Anyone can start over and make a new ending.” Hester did indeed have a horrible beginning; locked up and condemned to humiliation, Hester lost her will to live at times and nearly went mad. But the very Symbol she was forced to create helped her to escape her misery. In Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the symbol of the letter A on Hester’s clothing serves as a constant reminder to Hester and the townspeople of her sin; however, this constant reminder develops Hester’s self-worth throughout the novel.
Hester embroiders the scarlet ‘A’ and wears it without shame. “It was the art—then, as now, almost the only one within a woman’s grasp—of needlework. She bore on her breast, in the curiously embroidered letter, a specimen of her delicate and imaginative skill, of which the dames of a court might gladly have availed themselves, to add the richer and more spiritual adornment of human ingenuity to their fabrics of silk and gold” (Hawthorne 74). By adorning and decorating her ‘A’, it is understood that Hester has associated some pride with the representation of her crime. Members of her puritan society see the scarlet ‘A’ as a symbol of shame yet Hester has deviated from this symbolism by not attempting to conceal or show embarrassment in her scarlet letter. A professor from King’s College, Laurie A. Sterling questions Hester’s actions and what they represent, “you might also ask why Hester chose to decorate the sign of her sin with gold embroidery and why she chose to embellish it—This line of inquiry could lead to a question about Hester’s place within her society. Is Hester making a statement about her sin? Is she, as one of the matron’s assumes, proud of her A?” (Sterling 224). The specific meaning of the letter A was never explicitly stated in The Scarlet Letter; it is therefore open to interpretation. Hester interprets her letter differently as opposed to
The scarlet letter was “On the breast of her gown, in a fine red cloth, surrounded with and elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread” (Hawthorne 37). Among the Puritan community the extravagance of the letter was the thing that most stood out about Hester when she stood on the scaffold for the first time. In the beginning of the novel the Puritan community and Hester saw the letter as a symbol only for her sin. As the novel evolves the symbol of the scarlet letter changes as Hester becomes more like a Puritan and less free. Although, the letter changes its meaning, Hester is not able to keep the A off. Although, taking off the letter gave Hester “exquisite relief” and “freedom” (Hawthorne 139) she can’t actually be free unless she is feeling guilt and repenting for her sin. Even in death Hester is not able to escape the letter “On a field, sable, the letter A, gules” (Hawthorne 180). Hester will always be known for her
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the “A” is much more than a tattered patch of crimson with loose gold stitchery. As the years pass, the Puritanical society associates Hester Prynne’s identity with the embattled patch from an “adulteress,” to a woman who’s “able,” and finally, into an “angel.” Hester is a fallen woman in the beginning as she is publically shamed and shunned, causing her to suffer greatly. She internally struggles to comprehend the letter’s symbolic meaning only to come out as a stronger woman in the end. “Symbols are a means of complex communication that often can have multiple levels of meaning.”(Womack, P125) Hester gains a unique understanding of humanity and the struggles of other
Nathaniel Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter in 1850, and it’s considered his most influential work. The gothic romance explores the themes of sin, Puritan legalism, and guilt, and incorporates a heavy use of symbolism. One of the most important symbols in the book, along with Pearl and the Black Man, is the scarlet letter donned by the story’s protagonist, Hester Prynne. In the very beginning of the book, the scarlet letter means that she is “Animal”, an inhuman creature to marvel at and ridicule as it stands upon the scaffold. In the early stages of the plot, the scarlet letter meant simply “Adulteress”, a cold reminder of her sin. As the story progresses, the letter she wears upon her bosom develops a second meaning equally central to Hester’s pain and development: “Alone.” Hester works diligently over the course of years to repent for her sin and improve her reputation, and her hard work and improved reputation gain her the title of “Able”, even though she’s still considered an impure sinner. At the end of the book, when Hester returns to Boston and becomes a trusted advisor and helper to the women of the
Hester possesses a very resistant and dignified attitude. This attitude is shown from the beginning as she holds her head high, despite the looks of scorn. "Stretching forth the official staff in his left hand, he laid his right upon the shoulder of a young woman, whom he thus drew forward; until, on the threshold of the prison door, she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free will."( )
What makes a hero? Some may say saving lives, or stopping evil, but in literature, these are not the only requirements for the title of “hero.” It is monstrously debated amongst literary scholars whether or not Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a true heroine or not. She displays heroic qualities, but many believe otherwise. The novel opens with her being publicly humiliated. Her sin was adultery, a transgression that puritans of the 1600's would take to heart. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth, had not been seen for two years, and she slept
Hester Prynne lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts in 1642. The Puritan society was a group of people that lived in this village and town. They are very religious and use the Bible and God as their standard for behavior and punishment. This group of people, especially Puritan women are very intimidating and ruthless. They love watching people be punished and embarrassed when they committed a sinful crime. Hester Prynne is one of the first characters to be introduced to readers. Nathaniel Hawthorne describes Hester Prynne as a tall woman “with a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes” (Hawthorne 60). Hester was the lady every guy wanted. She was stunning and so graceful. However she had committed one of the worst sins.
In “The Scarlet Letter”, Nathaniel Hawthorne creates many themes and uses different symbols to format the plot of this story. The main themes that Hawthorne talks about are portrayed out through the main characters, Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, Pearl Hester and Dismmesdale’s daughter and Arthur Dimmesdale the towns Clergyman. The main theme that Hawthorne talks about in “The Scarlet Letter” is sin and how the characters deal with the sin of adultery and their own individual sins and the effect they have on them and other people of their town in Boston. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbol “A” which Hester is forced to wear by the townspeople to represent the theme of her sin in the book.
At the beginning of the novel, Hester is revealed to be an outsider before any characters appear, with Hawthorn’s representation of the characters within his description of the setting. This description ends with Hawthorne's focus on the prison, which contains “on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush” (Hawthorne 42). The prison, which is described as aged, gloomy, and ugly, represents the Puritan society as a whole, because it symbolizes their outdated and stifling beliefs. Hawthorne, who has no affection towards the Puritans, uses the prison to describe them because it connotes a place that is looked down. Hester Prynne is the lone figure represented by the rose-bush as it symbolizes her beauty and how different she is from the other Puritans. Prisons are seen as dark and gloomy, while roses are colorful and exude a feeling of elegance. The rose-bush is also at the very edge of the prison, which relates to Hester being at the very edge of society, both living on