Hawthorne chooses to have Hester overcome her struggles. At the end of the book, Hester finds at least some degree of peace. The struggles and pain she went through were not pleasant, but they did provoke her to improve her relationship with God. Her burden seems lessened and if there is nothing else for her to be joyful about, her daughter Pearl has adapted and thrived in her new life. Hester Prynne shows mercy upon the sick and does charity work even when it goes unappreciated. She gave her time and effort to help the poor even when they rebuked her as well. Her dedication to try and fix her mistakes is admirable and the reader feels as if Hester has really changed for the better. The change in Hester makes the people respect her and come to her for advice at the end of the story. In chapter 13, Hawthorne writes about how the Puritans have mixed feelings about Hester, but the majority of the people now forgive and hold her in high regard. “They said it meant ‘Able’; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (pg. 158) This quote shows how the interpretation of the letter and of Hester herself has changed. The new view of Hester gained by the Puritans is based on her response to the scarlet letter, a symbol meant to ruin her but in reality it made her
She had such a kind nature and willingness to assist others that the fact that those whom she fed often returned the generosity with nothing but insults did not cause her to cease in her endeavors. Then, towards the end of the novel, after returning from Europe to the New England town in which she had sinned and repented numerous years before, Hester began to counsel other unfaithful women. For example, "Hester comforted and counseled them as best she might. She assured them, too, of her firm belief, that, at some brighter period, when the world should have grown ripe for it, in Heaven's own time, a new truth would be revealed, in order to establish the whole relation between man and woman on a surer ground of mutual happiness." This also demonstrates Hester's generosity and helpfulness. Although the New England town harbored such unpleasant memories for her, she was willing to return in order to assist others in need. She was willing to relive her own pain and absorb the pain of others in order to benefit future generations, and she was willing to give back to a society which had given nothing to her.
Her being forced to wear the scarlet letter which led her to becoming a women’s advocate reflects the theme that good things come from bad. There was plenty of negative backlash to Hester's mistake, however she gained the ability to help other women struggling just like her. “They said that it meant Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength” (pg 177, Hawthorne). The sin she committed and the experience gained through the aftermath of that sin, gives her insight on what it's like to be a woman who's being discriminated. Raising her daughter on her own and her saving her from harming herself reflects the theme that everyone makes mistakes. After all Hester is human just like everyone else. It is in our nature to make mistakes or even sin. “It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society” (pg 181, Hawthorne). The actions we take to reverse or to compensate for that sin is what makes us who we are as individuals. Her being alienated from society and developing an independent thinking mindset mirrors the theme that one must acknowledge their mistakes to learn from them. Hester’s society made it abundantly clear that what she did was absolutely heinous and that she needs to repent and beg for forgiveness. The isolation she suffered through helped her become an independent thinker and develop thoughts that we would consider ahead of her time. “The world's law was no law for her mind” (pg 180, Hawthorne). Being excluded socially gave her a chance to dwell in her own thoughts and gather perceptions different from that of other puritans. This decision that Hester makes is very important to the story because it mirrors many of the major themes the author tried getting across to its
Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner. She has gone against the Puritan ways by committing Adultery. The Puritans believed that Hester was a lost soul that could only be saved by sincere and thorough repentance. For this
From the start of the novel, Hester is portrayed in exile. She begins in the jail, and soon after is paraded through the streets to start her public exile with her child, Pearl. This first public shame caused Hester to feel “as if her hear had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon (Hawthorne 52).” The
When Hester is released from prison, she ponders the effect of the scarlet letter and realizes, “she must either sustain and carry it forward by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink beneath it” (Hawthorne 69). In other words, Hester knows that allowing other people to bring her down will lead to self-destruction. Through a great deal of inner strength, Hester decides to stay in her hometown and let “the torture of her daily shame . . . purge her soul and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saintlike, because the result of martyrdom” (Hawthorne 71). Essentially, Hester resolves to learn from her “mistake” and use the situation as a growing opportunity. Decisively, Hester concludes that although she cannot change the past, she can show her strength and resolve by overcoming the shaming that is sure to occur in her town. Hester’s honesty and willingness to accept her punishment enable her to
Hester Prynne’s sin was a very concrete sin, and was simply committing adultery. Her sin changed her throughout the book, mainly her physical appearance. The beginning of the book says, “The young woman was tall, with the figure of perfect elegance on a large scale” (46). Even though she is embarrassed of her sin, she had not been transformed of it yet. Hester doesn’t changed until later on the book. She starts to feel the pressure of the people and the pressure of her sin. She starts wearing bland clothes and putting her hair up in a bonnet. She also decides to move away from everyone by moving into a cabin in the woods. Hester becomes very depressed throughout the book, the reader sees this because she loses her light. Hawthorne says she is not the girl everyone knew she was, no one recognized her anymore. In chapter 16, she goes to the to the forest to talk to Dimmesdale. Hester’s appearance starts to
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s purpose for Hester Prynne is to show that even when the weight of sin and guilt is bearing down on your shoulders, just put it all behind you and do whatever you can to live a normal life. Hester lived the most normal life she could manage, yet she walked around the colony a living testimony. She was the contradiction in the so called “perfect” world the Puritans created. They told her that she was
To begin with, Hester’s sin drove the story, but after the community established her as a sinner, she overcame her sins but she still struggled through other characters. Instead of depicting Hester’s inner turmoil directly to Hester, Hawthorne portrays her tumult through other characters in her life such as Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and the community. Dimmesdale proclaimed to Hester, “If thou feelest it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and
As her punishment for committing Adultery Hester Pryne has to go and stand and scaffold in the center of town, daily. Her correction reinforces the Marxism ideology of organized religion, showing that she is bending to the society's ways. Although Hester is not entirely submitted. Hester still tries to hold some of her rebelliousness with acts that display defiance such as when she left the prison "with a burning blush; haughty smile" (Scarlet Letter 39). She is not so defiant when in the presence of greater figures of authority. Hester forfeits all resistance when she is called on by Governor Bellingham, "Hearken unto me, Hester Prynne!" (Scarlet Letter 48), while standing on scaffold. Exhibiting that she is still kept in check by greater figures of authority. The greater figures of authority include the governor and a number of sergeants; who use Puritan beliefs to regulate this society. Overall proving that Hester is in this predicament because of this "organized
While Hester is a feminist, not only does she share the ideals but shows superiority to the town while being fearless. " It may seem marvelous, that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame.” (chapter 5, paragraph 2) Hester does not let the shame and remorse of the sin keep her away from the town like most would do. Hawthorne even states that Dimmesdale is weaker than Hester by punishing himself and holding his heart while Hester embraces the sin and is strong while carrying the letter on her chest. She leads a self-righteous life, although she could keep what she earns, she gives most away. Even the townsfolk say Hester is "so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted."(chapter 13, paragraph 5) Hester can be seen over the townspeople helping them although they shamed her. Hawthorne presents that Hester’s “tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free.” (chapter 18, paragraph 2) With this Hester has a “radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. (chapter 18, paragraph 12) These quotes from Hawthorne show that Hester’s kindness helps her overcome her sin on her own. With Hester’s contribution to the town, “Her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion.” (chapter 5, paragraph 6) In his research, Sacvan Bercovitch remarks that “Hester Prynne ‘builds upon the tradition of the biblical Esther -
People see he letter and immediately judge her on the sin she committed, rather than seeing her positive attributes. When first introduced to the letter, “all the townspeople assembled and level[ed] their stern regard at Hester Prynne” (Hawthorne 68). The townspeople stare at Hester, because they are unfamiliar with her letter. Now, Hester is constantly under the watch of the town, whether her actions are noteworthy or not. The town becomes abnormally fascinated with Hester, which makes them wonder more about her. They wonder if she has thoughtful intentions, or if she is evil. Also, they wonder if they are seeing the true Hester Prynne, or if she is being fake. Throughout the duration of the novel, Hester constantly grows and changes the towns view on her. Towards the end of the novel, the narrator explains, “but, in the the laps of the toilsome, thoughtful, and self-devoted years that made up Hester’s life, the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence, too” (315). Though in the beginning, the townspeople look down and frown upon the scarlet letter, now they think of it as an example of the selfless acts she does for others. She does charity work for other women, which makes people realize that she should not be defined by her letter. She, also, provides a positive example for other women by showing
Hester Prynne the main character of the book has committed the sin with Dimmesdale and is ostracized for it. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth, is a noble scholar who becomes the doctor of Dimmesdale. She finally meets her long lost husband in jail where she had stayed. They both talk and Chillingworth becomes curious about her partner and demands to know who it is but Hester does not speak. Then, they two make a compromise about Chillingworth's identity, “I will keep your secret, as I have kept his” (Hawthorne 70). As time passes, Hester sees a change in Chillingworth; she mentions that he has become more
Hester Prynne’s ability to sustain her stability and strength of spirit is the express result of her public guilt and penance. She was Arthur Dimmesdale’s partner in adultery, but she is used by Hawthorne as a complete foil to his situation. Unlike Dimmesdale, Hester is both strong and honest. Walking out of prison at the beginning of the novel, she decides that she must “sustain and carry” her burden forward “by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink with it. She could no longer borrow from the future to help her through the present grief” (54). Hester openly acknowledges her sin to the public, and always wears her scarlet letter A. In the forest scene, she explains to Dimmesdale that she has been truthful in all things except in revealing his part in her pregnancy. “A lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side” (133). Even Dimmesdale himself realizes that Hester’s situation is much healthier than his own when he states, “It must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to cover it all up in his heart” (92-93). This life of public shame and repentance, although bitter, lonely, and difficult, helps Hester retain her true identity while Dimmesdale seems to be losing his.
Hester Prynne is a protagonist in the novel " The Scarlet Letter" She is described as a young tall women, with dark and glossy hair. So beautiful that "her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped." Hester Prynne suffers public humiliation, forced to wear the scarlet letter for the sin she has done. She then hides her beauty and sin underneath a cap for seven years. All the people who surround her look down on her and shame her, but after a long while. People begin to feel bad for her, telling her to remove the scarlet letter. Though, Hester disagrees and keeps the scarlet letter on. Leaving her with a burden on her back reminding her and the people for what she did. Hester continues with her