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.
Hawthorne describes Hester as “self-ordained a Sister of Mercy” (104) where her scarlet letter is no longer perceived as an icon for her sin, but rather a “symbol of her calling” (104). After conquering her shame, she learns to help others--those who had fallen -- recover from their own conflicts. Hester still lives with the shame of her sin every time she looks at her daughter, but manages to beat the pain and guilt that tries to overwhelm her. Roger Chillingworth is consumed by rage and driven by an evil vengeance. Upon returning to his wife aft... ... middle of paper ... ...r Dimmesdale to die because he must repent for his sin by appealing to God.
Morally, holding sins over your head can lead to death as read in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Minister’s Black Veil and The Scarlet Letter. Also, Hester proved to all the hypocrites that doubted her that just because she sinned does not mean that cannot continue to live. Because Hester committed adultery, she began to take life more seriously than before. As a result, she became more independent and strong-minded. Nevertheless, she learned from her mistakes and used them wisely to help raise her daughter, Pearl.
The cost of sin is death, sin is not something that should be accepted or even want to be accepted. God hates sin and does not condone it so why should anyone else. Pearl did the right thing by not condemning her mother like the rest of the town did, but instead, she just loved her. In the Bible, God says “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”(1 Peter 4:8). No matter how much her mother had sinned, Pearl would have loved her anyway.
It slowly changes from bad to good as the story progresses. Hester uses the scarlet letter and the pain and grief it brings her to become a better person. Hawthorne describes this learning through pain, saying, “Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness.... The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread.
Pearl was a burden to Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, and Hester but she was only a burden because she was leading them all towards good. She was more of a divine character helping all three of them and she changed them all or the better. She was labeled evil only because of society’s cynical view. This shows that society was wrong to label her evil just by way of birth. Pearls complex nature of good versus evil was shown through her relationships with her mother, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth.
Even though her mother committed a sinful act of adultery, Pearl still looks up to her mother with love and grace. Pearl recognizes characters and their significance in her and her mother’s life. There are some points in the story where Pearl is considered a child of the Devil simply because she is the result of a sin. Pearl continuously finds ways to defy the image of being an evil child. Throughout the story, Pearl illustrates an “elf-like” intelligence and a maturity that children do not normally have.
These decisions are often made after one has a shift in morals after being condemned. Hester from The Scarlet Letter not only changes her mental thoughts, but she begins to break out of her initial condemned state since she feels that she has already broken all the rules that she could. As a Puritan, Hester was advised to not head into the forest since the Puritans saw it as a dark and sinful area. She was also a woman, and no woman was said to even come near the forest: “But Hester Prynne... outlawed, from society... she had wandered into a moral wilderness... The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dare not tread” (Hawthorne 180).
In the beginning she was not only forced to be true to herself and the whole town, but to emotionally and mentally evolve. She had found her identity in the novel the day she stood on that scaffold. If given a choice, Hester would have rather worn the mark of shame than not, because the letter had transformed her into who she is. The blood red letter may not be pretty, but it is immensely better than living a lie. By digging a little deeper into the novel, it's plain that Hester is the only one true in the entire book, both to her self and society.
Though Hester does not spend a long time in the prison, the townspeople still harshly punish her for committing a harmless sin. The only result of the actions of Hester and Arthur is Pearl, and although she is a disobedient child, she is a child nonetheless. Hester did not do anything to harm another human being. She and Arthur just followed their hearts, but according to Puritan society, they followed their hearts in the incorrect way. Hester has a kind heart, and she is being punished for a terrible mistake, so the rose bush represents the good found in a terrible place.