Hawthorne alienates Hester from society in his book The Scarlet Letter by putting her through embarrassment on the scaffold, sentencing her to wear The Scarlet Letter unless she succumbs to the masculine authorities and gives up the name of Pearl’s paternal figure, and portraying Hester as a witch who “saps the phallic power” (p.297), which Shari Benstock says in her criticism “T...
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...ibalistic” relationship Hester has with Dimmesdale, Benstock cites the scene at Governor Bellingham’s hall where Hester is trying to convince the elder’s of the church to let her keep Pearl. The elders were trying to take Pearl away from Hester because they claimed that either Pearl was conceived by the devil and had no moral capacity or God had conceived Pearl and Hester’s sinful life would only be an obstacle for Pearl when she tries to learn good morals. While convincing the elders that she should be able to keep Pearl, Hester overpowers the frail Dimmesdale while talking to him which brings Benstock to her conclusion; Hester saps the strength and overpowers Dimmesdale. Because Hester has some characteristics of a witch, the society assumes she is evil and thus alienates her from society which reveals how society operates under their values and assumptions.
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