She had returned, therefore, and resumed,—of her own free will, for not the sternest magistrate of that iron period would have imposed it,—resumed the symbol of which we have related so dark a tale. Never afterwards did it quit her bosom. But ... the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world's scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, and yet with reverence, too.” (234). The symbol of the scarlet letter evolves from one of disgrace and shame, to a sign of hope and remembrance. It reminds people not to sin but
“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, a woman named Hester, who is abandoned by her husband for two years, is having an affair with the pastor, Reverend Dimmesdale. Hester gives birth to a daughter while her husband is away which leads people to believe that she is having an affair. The Puritans’s view of sin is very strict, so they believe Hester deserves a terrible punishment.Hester keeps the father hidden from the knowledge of the townspeople, so she receives the brutal punishment by herself. Throughout the novel, Hester and Dimmesdale react and cope with their sin differently.
In view of others, an individual is defined by their actions but by accepting their consequence, one can overcome their new identity. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is known among her Puritan community by her scarlet letter ‘A’ that lies on her chest as a reminder of her crime. As she is labelled an ‘adulterer,’ and tries to remain her accomplice a mystery, Hester is faced with the challenge of trying to raise her daughter, Pearl, alone in ignominy. The scarlet letter, worn upon Hester’s chest, commences as a symbol of shame and isolation as a result of her punishment, but as the novel progresses, Hester begins to embody the scarlet letter as her own identity. The outset of the scarlet letter symbol initially represents
Hester Prynne, an adulteress, is imprisoned by the laws of Puritan society and instead of running away, struggles to accept her badge of shame as a very real part of who she is. When she is first commanded to wear a scarlet letter A, she sees it as a curse. For the first few years she tries to ignore the ignominy under a mask of indifference. “Hester Prynne, meanwhile, kept her place upon the pedestal of shame, with glazed eyes, and an air or weary indifference,” Hawthorne writes. (page 48) Even so, she cannot hide from what her sin has produced.
The infamous scarlet letter of Hester Prynne not only eradicates her reputation but becomes the barrier that isolates her from the Puritan community. Through the story, traits that were attributed to the scarlet letter develope in the eyes of Hester, Pearl, the village people, and the narrator. These views help to show the main ideas coming across from this story that reflect not only the sins of the Puritans but the sins of all mankind. Hester, the unlikely protagonist of this narrative, constantly battles with what her condemning “A” means to her. Although she makes and embroiders the letter herself, this scarlet “A” becomes its own individual persona.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, narrates the life of a young woman, Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and was forced to live with the constant torture of Puritan society. Because of this affair that Hester and Dimmesdale underwent, Hester bore a child, Pearl, whom she begot out of wedlock with Dimmesdale. Although Puritan society in the seventeenth century could be brutal with its strict, moral beliefs, Hester and Dimmesdale still managed to express romantic feelings for each other, even though it was forbidden. Hawthorne referred to his work, The Scarlett Letter, as purely Romanticism, however it reflects both Romanticism and Puritanism throughout the novel. The novel reflects Romanticism in the ways that it shows the social transformations and spiritual development of Hester Prynne.
This illustrates that at the start, Hester was labelled with the scarlet letter as a punishment for adultery. “The letter was the symbol of her calling…They said that it meant Able so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman 's strength." (13.168). As the novel develops, she embarks on understanding and respecting the humanity of those who surrounded
Although thought to be an embarrassment and form of torture for Hester, this scarlet letter seems to become a sense of pride for Prynne. This scarlet letter grows to become a part of Hester an identification to her child Pearl. The scarlet letter is a constant recurring symbol in Hawthorne's novel, but it doesn't satisfy only one purpose. As many symbols tend to do, the scarlet letter serves numerous functions, which enhance the story. The first and most obvious symbol would be the actual 'A'; that was stitched on Hester's chest.
At this point in her life, condemned for eternity to wear the ashamed symbol on her breast, she explains to Chillingworth, her husband and acting doctor that she wishes for death... ... middle of paper ... ...rne describes her as not letting her hand cover the symbol. She grew to understand her fate and continues to make the best of it, doing all that she could to be normal in a society where she is seen as an outcast. The way I feel about Hester is quite odd, for reading about an adulteress should have given me the vibe of disgust or detachment from her description. However, her actions throughout the novel brought me to understand her emotions and mentally strive for her happiness, which, in a way, never fully occurred. Hawthorne taught me, through Hester, that although things made be difficult and out of reach, one can achieve at least a fraction of what they want to achieve in life no matter how bad the circumstances may be.
By the end of the novel, the letter “A” has undergone a complete metamorphisis and represents the respect that Hester has for herself. The letter "A," worn on Hester's bodice, is a symbol of her adultery against Roger Chillingworth. This letter is meant to be worn in shame, and to make Hester feel unwanted. "Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment . .