preview

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.’ Essay

Good Essays
An outsider is someone who functions outside or on the verge of society; someone who is alienated, misunderstood or misjudged by a person or group of people. To be an outsider would be to hold views of a controversial nature, usually the opposite of what is socially acceptable. Hester Prynne is such an example. It is through the use of her as an outsider; her actions, opinions, morals and portrayal which show how The Outsider Novel is or isn’t just another name for the novel of social protest.
Upon reading The Scarlet Letter, it would be safe to assume that Nathaniel Hawthorne is using the protagonist, Hester Prynne, as a scapegoat through whom he can socially protest. Social protest could be defined as when the author uses a character
…show more content…
It should be noted that whilst Hester is not fully accepted by society at one point, a few citizens here and there referred to her as ‘our Hester – the town’s own Hester…’ Individuals or small clusters of people begin to treat Hester with a slightly less untoward attitude yet whilst the crowd is in its multitude, they do not dare enter the circumference which forms around her. This highlights the segregation between Hester and the rest of the society.
Hester’s segregation is furthermore emphasised by her choice of home. She lives ‘on the outskirts of town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation… abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of social activity…’ Hester’s geographical detachment from society correlates with the mental and emotional detachment between her and the citizens. One could ask the question, ‘Is Hawthorne creating an outsider with whom we feel pity and remorse?’ ‘Would our opinion of that society be different if there wasn’t an outsider?’ As previously mentioned, he is socially protesting: highlighting the societal attitude towards Hester emphasises how this could not be achieved without an outsider and how the terms ‘The Outsider Novel’ and
Get Access