The second meaning that the letter "A" took was "able." The townspeople who once condemned her now believed her scarlet "A" to stand for her ability to create beautiful needlework and for her unselfish assistance to the poor and sick. "The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her- so much power to do and power to sympathize- that many people refused to interpret the scarlet 'A' by its original signification." At this point, many the townspeople realized what a godly character Hester possessed.
With sin there is personal growth, and as a symbol of her sin, Hester’s scarlet “A” evokes development of her human character. The Puritan town of Boston became suspicious when Hester Prynne became pregnant despite her husband being gone. Being a heavily religious village, the townspeople punished Hester for her sin of adultery with the burden of wearing a scarlet “A” on all that she wears. Initially the... ... middle of paper ... ...was born out of sin. As evident in The Scarlet Letter, when a person sins they face positive and negative consequences that lead into development of their own personal character.
Dimmesdale represents sin as he also committed adultery, but he deals with it internally. Pearl represents Hester’s sin, as she is the outcome of what can happen when one sins. The novel gives examples of these many ways sin is represented through the character’s way of dealing with it. In the novel, Hester is abashed from being publicly humiliated and forced to deal with the pain caused by her sin externally. In the scene where Hester is with her daughter Pearl stepping up on the scaffold as punishment and her sin is announced to the townspeople, Governor Bellingham states,“‘At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead.
"In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors” (Hawthorne 50). The townspeople had no right to determine Hester’s punishment. God can only make this type of judgment. She also expresses her best qualities when she stands up to Governor Bellingham, and she confronts him about Pearl. Hester, being proud, headstrong, and confident, faces him successfully and convinces Governor Bellingham into letting her keep Pearl.
The people of the town were angry and astonished that Hester, a fair young lady, had sinned. To sin was a shameful thing to do and thus, in the early chapters of the book, Hester’s scarlet letter is perceived as a mark of sin and shame. As time passed, Hester was often referred to by the “A” that symbolized her sin. When she went to the Governor’s home, the young puritan children who were playing saw her approaching and exclaimed “Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter…!” (Hawthorne 93) On one occasion, the scarlet “A” virtually hid Hester, so that all that could be seen of her was her mark of sin. “…the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance…she seemed absolutely hidden behind it.” (Hawthorne 97) For ... ... middle of paper ... ...at have deemed me holy!
As she walked through the streets, she was looked down upon as if she were some sort of evil spirit among them, being punished for some ghastly crime. This gave Hester much mental anguish and grief. On the other hand, God's treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than the scarlet letter. He gave Hester the punishment of rearing a very unique child whom she named Pearl. "But she named the infant "Pearl," as being of great price, --purchased with all she had, --her mother's only treasure!
The disheartening insults that Hester was bombarded with at every corner inevitably made her stronger, “Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, —stern and wild ones, —they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss (Hawthorn 209). Through the powers of time this strength was what forged new meanings for the scarlet letter. At the beginning of the novel Hawthorne made it very clear that the scarlet letter stood for adulterer. After Hester’s public humiliation on the town’s scaffold she isolated herself in a cottage and made stunning sewed works.
Even years after Hester Prynne’s death, the scarlet letter continues to have a negative impact on anyone that views it. Originally, the scarlet letter is meant to put Hester to shame. While initially being publicly prosecuted for her crime, a young wife in the crowd mentions, “let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always on her heart” (49). This immediately sets Hester apart from the rest of society and employs that the letter will be a part of her for the rest of her life. During her public prosecution, Hawthorne depicts Hester’s elegant, dignified beauty and the crowd’s eyes being drawn to the scarlet letter by stating, “it had the effect of a spell, taking her out of th... ... middle of paper ... ...ways.
First of all, the scarlet letter stands for Hester's sin. By forcing Hester to wear the letter A on her bosom, the Puritan community not only punishes this weak young woman for her adultery but labels her identity as an adulteress and immoral human being as well. "Thus the young and the pure would be taught to look at her, with the letter flaming on her chest", also "as the figure, the body and the reality of sin." And the day Hester began to wear the scarlet A on her bosom is the opening of her darkness. From that moment, people, who look at her, must notice the letter A manifest itself in the red color covering not only her bosom, but her own character.
Individualism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter 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. The new Puritan society wanted to punish Hester Prynne horribly so that she would set an example of the consequences the others would receive if they committed a sin.. At first the Puritans took a delight in Hester Prynne's punishment, having thought they cleansed the town, and therefore only leaving a "pure" society.