People have been stereotyping outcasts since the beginning of time. This behavior is a crucial component of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. The main character of the story, Hester Prynne, resides in a community of Puritans; who are notorious hypocrites. Their harsh rules are basically impossible to follow, therefore setting their citizens up for failure and punishment. Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne with the elements of sin, judgement, and revenge.
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
In his work “On the Scarlet Letter,” D.H. Lawrence addresses the controversial character of Hester Prynne. He is just one of many critics who have analyzed Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictional character, where some look to her as a hero and others blatantly shame her for her sin. Lawrence makes up the latter of this crowd, and is able to prove his case in a very meaningful manner. The critic believes that Hawthorne sugarcoats Hester’s image, and tries to make it look as if she is the victim of the tale. Disregarding this sympathy, he addresses the root cause of her sin rather than its consequences. As he writes, he uses a multitude of literary techniques to help convince readers of Hester’s seemingly evil character, using descriptive diction, a
The Scarlet letter shows hester as a humble person. She had to suffer a lot in the beginning. I tried to convey this with her distaste of the town shaming her. I also made sure to highlight her persistence to protect herself and her child. That’s the one thing Hester always did, protect Pearl. I decided
In his essay, “On The Scarlet Letter,” D.H. Lawrence provokes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrayal of Hester Prynne as a miraculous hero. Throughout the whole essay, he implies that Hester Prynne is a shameless transgressor, who only cares for herself. Hester Prynne is shamed by Lawrence for her atrocious actions. Lawrence provides several writing techniques in his essay including biblical allusion, degrading diction, and hyperbole, to prove that Hester Prynne is a wicked sinner.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us," stated Oliver Wendell Holmes. This eventually proves to be especially true for Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne, a fair young maiden whose husband had disappeared two years prior to the opening of the novel, has an affair with the pastor of her Puritan church, resulting in the birth of her child Pearl. Because of this act of adultery, Hester Prynne is branded by the scarlet letter "A," which she is forced to forever wear upon her attire. The plot thickens as Hester's former husband returns to New England and becomes
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
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 -
“‘Do you see that woman with the embroidered badge? They would say to strangers. It is our Hester, —the town's own Hester, —who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted!’” (Hawthorne 127). One of the main characters of The Scarlet Letter is Hester Prynne, who has committed adultery with a man named Roger Chillingworth, although no one in the town at first knows this. When it is found out that Hester has committed adultery, the town that she lives in forces her to wear a scarlet A, which is embroidered on her dresses which is always seen upon her chest. When Hester is seen in public with the scarlet A on her breast, she is persecuted and mocked by other members of the settlement, especially the women. The women seem to think that they are perfect and that Hester has committed a great sin and needs to be made an example of. However no one in this settlement is truly perfect, mainly because of the way they persecute and look down on those who have sinned, but that is not the way God views them. If they repent of their sin, God will truly love them, as God truly loves everyone on Earth. Ways that Hester can truly be shown as the hero of the story would be that she overcomes persecution from hypocritical Puritans of the settlement, she helps others that are going through times of hardship, and she is very caring for her daughter Pearl, even though she was created through an adulterous act. She cares for her like any mother would for a
Often in society people are criticized, punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author uses Hester Prynne to symbolize that those who challenge social conformities can benefit society as a whole. Though she has been banished for committing adultery, she sees that the community needs her. Through her generous accomplishments the community realizes she is a person who, regardless of her sin, can affect the community in a positive way.
Imagine yourself on display in front of your whole town, being punished for cheating on your husband or wife. Today adultery is looked down on, but in reality nobody makes a huge deal out of it. Sin can affect a person in many ways, but whether it’s good or bad only time can tell. In the old days, religion and law were looked at as one, and Hester Prynne just so happened to sin, which in turn caused her to break the law. In the novel, Hester displays that how a person deals with sin has a lasting impact on the people around her, and most importantly those that are the closest to her.
While Puritan women are weak and dependent upon their husbands, Hester Prynne is empowered and self-reliant. A character designed by Hawthorne to show 19th century women that women’s work could be valuable, Hester supports herself and her daughter by needlework. “For, as the novel unfolds, the letter, intended by the Authorities to signify harsh but just condemnation, is made by Hester to signify something entirely different—able, admirable.” (Bell 109) All aspects considered, the ability of Hester, a woman who committed sin and was publicly punished for this crime, to manipulate this punishment into a virtue
The Scarlet Letter was a love story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book tells the story of Hester Prynne, who portrays the effect of punishment on sensitivity and human nature. She is seen as a person who deserves the embarrassment of her bad choice. She had a rough time with her recognition of the letter's meaning. Over the 7 years of her punishment, Hester's inner struggle changes from a victim of Puritan branding to a decisive woman in tune with human nature. In time, though the Puritan people look at the letter as a meaning of "Angel." Her sensitivity with society's victims makes her symbolic meaning turn into a person whose life was originally oppressed to a strong and sensitive woman with respect for others. In her last few years
In his essay On The Scarlet Letter, D.H. Lawrence contradicts Hawthorne’s portrayal of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne respects Hester and portrays her as a victim, whereas Lawrence argues that she is one of the main sinners in the novel. D.H. Lawrence establishes and supports his claim that Hester Prynne is unworthy of Hawthorne’s praise by effectively utilizing concise syntax, frequent repetition, and strong biblical allusions.
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.