Love can cloud one’s own moral judgement. Hester Prynne’s judgment is clouded by love throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. Critic Nina Baym states “if she could accept that judgement she would be able to see purpose and meaning in her suffering. But ultimately she is unable to transcend her heartfelt judgement that she has not sinned” (Baym). Although some critics believe that Hester understood her sin and its inevitability, her impulsive decisions and never failing love for Pearl and Arthur Dimmesdale keep her from repentance.
Although some critics may say Hester understood her sin, her love for Pearl and Dimmesdale keep her from this. Hester takes Pearl with her to the Governor’s mansion to demand she keep guardianship of Pearl, “the mother herself...lavishing many hours of morbid ingenuity, to create an analogy between the object of her affection, and the emblem of her guilt and torture” (Hawthorne 59). Hester has dressed Pearl up in scarlet as an act of rebellion out of pride. Hester has pride in Pearl and for this reason is blindsided to her sin. Though her reason for staying in the Puritan community over leaving was suffering punishment and repentance, this act of defyment is contradictory showing she is simply proud of Pearl and does not care for repentance. After Hester makes the decision with Dimmesdale to leave their community, Hester casts away her scarlet letter, Pearl brings Hester …show more content…
She does not understand her sin and its inevitability, as shown by her impulsive decisions and love for Pearl and Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. Love influences Hester’s major decisions and outlook on her sin. Love makes her unable to truly reach repentance through her lack of understanding. The sheltered perspective love brings can make your morals
The Scarlet Letter starts off by throwing Hester Prynne into drama after being convicted for adultery in a Puritan area. Traveling from Europe to America causes complications in her travel which also then separates her from her husband, Roger Chillingworth for about three years. Due to the separation, Hester has an affair with an unknown lover resulting in having a child. Ironically, her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, is a Reverend belonging to their church who also is part of the superiors punishing the adulterer. No matter how many punishments are administered to Hester, her reactions are not changed. Through various punishments, Hester Prynne embraces her sin by embroidering a scarlet letter “A” onto her breast. However, she is also traumatized deep within from everything she’s been through. Nathaniel Hawthorne depicts this story of sin by using rhetorical devices such as allusion, alliteration and symbolism.
Hester Prynne, the heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, exhibits considerable character growth both over the course of her life and during the events of the novel. Her view of herself and her perspective on the role of women in the world evolve as she learns from new experiences. She moves through the stages of self-centered happiness in her childhood, deep despair and depression as an adult, and a later more hopeful and selfless existence.
In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne exits the prison of the Puritan community of Boston, a large letter “A” clearly visible on her chest and a child in her arms. This is the first time the letter makes an appearance, and it is here where readers realize Hester has done something terribly wrong. The letter “A” sewn onto her clothes initially represents “adulterer”, but who exactly is the father of Pearl, the child Hester is holding, if her husband has been missing for two years? The townspeople would love to know the answer to that question, too, but it is only revealed to readers a few chapters into the story as being the unexpected Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale faces an
As a living reminder of Hester’s extreme sin, Pearl is her constant companion. From the beginning Pearl has always been considered as an evil child. For Hester to take care of such a demanding child, put lots of stress onto her life. Hester at times was in a state of uncontrollable pressure. “Gazing at Pearl, Hester Prynne often dropped her work upon her knees, and cried out with an agony which she would fain have hidden, but which made utterance for itself, betwixt speech and a groan, ‘O Father in heaven- if Thou art still my Father- what is this being which I have brought into the world!’” (Hawthorne, 77).
From the very beginning of The Scarlet Letter, while Hester is shamed by having a baby as tangible evidence of her sin and shame, the responsibility of caring for Pearl and raising her with love and wisdom serves to calm the defiant, destructive passion of Hester's nature and to save her from its wild, desperate promptings. This sentiment is poignantly portrayed in Hester's visit to the Governor's mansion. While there, she pleads with the Governor, magistrates, and ministers that she be allowed to keep Pearl, exclaiming, 'She is my happiness!--She is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too! See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only...
As the title directly indicates, this piece is centred on the stigma of a scarlet letter A on Hester Prynne—a woman who commits adultery and bears sole condemnation of the society—and it unfolds the meaning behind the symbol, its social influence, all relevant characters with their complicated relations between love and hate, vengeance and reconciliation. It is also about the sinful human nature, dignity, and redemption.
Hester's sin is that her passion and love were of more importance to her than the Puritan moral code, but she learns the error of her ways and slowly regains the adoration of the community. For instance, 'What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so! We said so to each other! Hast thou forgotten it?';(Ch.17: 179). Hester fully acknowledges her guilt and displays it with pride to the world. This was obvious by the way she displays the scarlet letter with elaborate designs showing that she is proud. Furthermore, she does not want to live a life of lies anymore when she states 'forgive me! In all things else, I have striven to be true! Truth was the one virtue which I might have held fast, and did hold fast, through all extremity save when thy good--the life--they fame--were put in question! Then I consented a deception. But a lie is never good, even though death threaten the other side!';(Ch.17: 177). Hester learns from her sin, and grows strong, a direct result from her punishment. The scarlet letter 'A' was as if a blessing to Hester changing her into an honest person with good virtues. Fittingly, she chooses to stay in Boston with Pearl although Hawthorne admits, ';…that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame';(Ch.5: 73). She is trying to stay and face her consequences instead of running in the other direction. Most people would leave a town where they are looked upon as trash the scum of society. Finally, the colonists come to think of the scarlet letter as '…the cross on a nun's bosom';(Ch.
The Scarlet Letter is a classic novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne which entangles the lives of two characters Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale together through an unpardonable sin-adultery. With two different lifestyles, this act of adultery affects each of them differently. Hester is an average female citizen who is married to a Roger Chillingworth from Europe while Dimmesdale is a Puritan minister from England (61). Along the course of time after the act of adultery had happened, Hester could not hide the fact that she was bearing a child that was not of her husband, but from another man. She never reveals that this man is in fact Arthur Dimmesdale, and so only she receives the punishment of prison. Although it is Hester who receives the condemnation and punishment from the townspeople and officials, Dimmesdale is also punished by his conscience as he lives his life with the secret burden hanging between him and Hester.
In summary, Charlotte Temple’s actions are used to directly teach the theme as Rowson wishes.Nathaniel Hawthorne uses his main character in a completely different way. It is common for a reader of The Scarlet Letter to determine that the theme of the story is that adultery is bad, but that is not the case. Hawthorne is not promoting adultery; that is true: As Darrel Abel states in his essay, “Hawthorne’s Hester,” “Although we are expected to love and pity Hester, we are not invited to condone her fault or to construe it as a virtue.”1 Hester Prynne and her lecherous sin are Hawthorne’s means of conveying a different message; Hawthorne is more interested in uncovering the flaws of puritan society and the hypocrisy of their reactions to Hester. The character of Hester Prynne is created as to exploit these flaws indirectly.The Puritan culture is one that recognizes Protestantism, a sect of Christianity. Though a staple of Christianity is forgiveness for one’s sins, this has long been forgotten amongst the women of Boston: “Morally, as well as materially, there was a coarser fibre in those wives and maidens of old English birth and breeding, than in their fair decendants.”2 When Hester is first brought out of her prison cell, the gossiping goodwives recommend much harsher punishments, from a brand on her forehead to death. Hester, who had done little wrong prior to this sin of adultery, is no longer seen as a human being, but merely as a symbol of evil and shame upon the town.
The two of them, after Dimmesdale dies, continue with their plans to go back to England where they hope for a better life. Once in England, the two are able to change their lives around for the better. Pearl is even found to have a family of her own: “Mr. Surveyor Pue, who made investigations a century later, … Pearl was not only alive, but married, and happy, and mindful of her mother; and that she would most joyfully have entertained that sad and lonely mother at her fireside” ( Hawthorne 392). Pearl was able to overcome her old life and create a new one, a better one, one that was just for her. Even though her mother was no longer around she tried her best to kept in touch with her. She also kept her and her mother’s experience in mind never to let herself go back to that life. After spending many years in England, Hester finally returns to New England. When she returns she is full of sorrow and regret; however, she continues to wear her A on upon her chest as a reminder of her pain. With returning to the land of sin, people came to Hester, mostly women, with problems of their own. They hope by talking to someone who has been through so much will help them, or give them insight on what life is like to be on the outside: “And, as Hester Prynne had no selfish ends, nor lived in any measure for her own profit and enjoyment, people brought all their sorrows and perplexities, and besought her counsel, as one who had herself gone through a mighty trouble. Women, more especially,—in the continually recurring trials of wounded, wasted, wronged, misplaced, or erring and sinful passion,—or with the dreary burden of a heart unyielded, because unvalued and unsought,—came to Hester’s cottage, demanding why they were so wretched, and what the remedy! Hester comforted and counseled them, as best she might” (Hawthorne 392-393). Even though Hester was miserable and thought that no
Through Hester and the symbol of the scarlet letter, Hawthorne reveals how sin can be utilized to change a person for the better, in allowing for responsibility, forgiveness, and a renewed sense of pride. In a Puritan society that strongly condemns adultery one would expect Hester to leave society and never to return again, but that does not happen. Instead, Hester says, “Here…had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because the result of martyrdom.” Hes...
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne’s act of adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale (Hawthorne 231) ultimately leads to negative and positive impacts on her life, including being isolated from everyone in town, being mocked and gossiped about, being more mature, and being more compassionate. One of the negative effects the loss of innocence has on Hester is that she becomes isolated from everyone in town. Hawthorne describes Hester:
Hester Prynne committed a crime so severe that it changed her life into coils of torment and defeat. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester is publicly recognized as an adulteress and expelled from society. Alongside the theme of isolation, the scarlet letter, or symbol of sin, is meant to shame Hester but instead transforms her from a woman of ordinary living into a stronger person.
In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne commits adultery, a disgraceful sin, and she is severely punished. Yet although her sin was not a good choice, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author, attempts to justify her actions. His writing indicates that he does not accept of her behavior but that it was not completely her fault. Being a Puritan, Hester was forced into one way of life, the only acceptable way in the eyes of her community. This pressure to adhere to numerous strict rules was metaphorically compared to a difficult journey down a narrow, winding road in the forest with little light. The Puritanical way of life curbed deviant behavior and is a justification for Hester's sin because every so often, everyone strays from the path but it the reaction to the wrongdoings that should be defining and Hester remained strong and took the consequences.
Throughout all the sinful things Hester Prynne has done, she still managed to obtain good qualities. Hester was an adulterer from the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester was looked down upon by the citizens of Boston because of the sin she and another person committed, but no one knew who her partner in crime was because she refused to release his name. Towards the very end of the story Hester’s accomplice confessed and left Hester and Pearl feeling joyous, because now they didn’t have to keep in a secret. Hester is a trustworthy, helpful, and brave woman throughout The Scarlet Letter.