The Journey Of Hester Prynne

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Hester’s Journey Many critics state that Salem’s community restricts Hester Prynne’s freedoms, but I believe that she has a limitless independence that can’t be revoked solely by the scarlet letter. Hawthorne introduces our protagonist early into the novel. Hester Prynne is a young woman who catches the eye of every man in the crowd. She is described as the pure essence of a beautiful woman. “The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance...She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face...beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion…” (46). Such detail is used to give the reader an image of what she looks like. Hawthorne puts such an emphasis on Hester’s…show more content…
Through the majority of the novel, Hester faces the hardships resulting from the scarlet letter. The first challenge is stepping onto the scaffold with her child, Pearl. This humiliation is only the beginning of the torment to come. Hawthorne exaggerates the cynical crowd and how, “...that SCARLET LETTER...taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself” (46). Hester’s ostracism can be correlated with the father and son from The Road. Both entities were isolated from the rest of society. “On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world” (51). Different circumstances will differentiate the two, but they faced similar situations; no one was there to assist them. In Hester’s case, the seclusion only begins with disapproving glances and constant gossip. She begins her journey with this scarlet letter symbolically referencing to adultery. Hester creates the best of the sign and the letter was, “...surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread...It was so artistically done…” (46). Hester counters the punishment and creates something beautiful. This idea is also relevant to the birth of Pearl. She was born due to a sin, but is recognized as a beautiful child. Still, Hester has many other obstacles, in the form of…show more content…
The key issue throughout the book is the scarlet letter, hence the title. She always wants to flee from it, but there’s no way of escaping the letter. “...a moment ago, as Hester had spoken of drowning it in the deep sea, there was a sense of inevitable doom upon her, as she thus received back this deadly symbol from the hand of fate” (174). Although Hester detaches from the letter physically, it never leaves mentally. Hester must suffer from the consequences, but keeping in mind that she still has Pearl, she continues to live a life of perseverance. Pearl is the sole reason that she pushes forward, yet the elders wanted to take her away. Hester pleads, “‘He gave her, in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!- she is my torture, none the less!’” (94). Similar to Ma Joad, her job was to maintain her strength to keep her family together. They faced opposing forces that attempted to separate loved ones. Ma Joad, “...seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone” (99-100). Hester had to fight as well and keep strong or the elders would have taken Pearl. Hester even said that she would willingly devote herself to the devil. The lengths the each entity goes through to keep their family
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