The Evolution of Hester in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter – The Evolution of Hester The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was an objective description of the life of Hester Prynne, an adultress. The novel does not go into specific details of the thoughts of the woman except to describe the mien of her character. Throughout the novel she faces humiliation by the other people of Boston, but never loses her sense of pride. Hester Prynne suffers enormousely from the shame of her public disgrace and from the isolation of her punishment; however, she retains her self-respect and survives her punishment with dignity, grace, and ever-growing strength of character. From the moment Hester Prynne is introduced into the plot of The Scarlet Letter in chapter 2, "The Marketplace", the reader realizes how prideful she is. As an adultress, she is forced to endure ignominy by her peers and is doomed to have the letter A bound to her heart. When standing on the scaffold as pun- ishment for her sins, she never truly falters. She hold a three month old infant in her arms and attempts to cover her brand with the child. However, she realizes that the baby symbolizes her sin just as much as the letter, and decides it's pointless. Throughout many years of her life, Hester was considered an outcast by the people of her town. These repercussions are felt by her daughter, Pearl, as well, because she has no friends. They don't associate with others and some instances occurred when Puritan children would throw rocks at the two. During this time, Hester refuses to make publicly known the name of her child's father. To bear the weight of her punishment all alone made her even stronger. As her life progressed, Hester became less of an outcast in the public eye. She was gifted at embroidery and was charitable to those less fortunate than she. (Although Hester was a talented seamstress, she did not make as much money as she could have because she was not allowed to sew wedding dresses. This is obviously because she had committed sins that were supposed to be confined to the sanctity of marriage.) Seven years after she had stood on the scaffold as a criminal, her letter was thought by the people to mean "able" as opposed to "adultress". Some time after that the public changed their views of her again and she was thought of as "angel".
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