"The Scarlet Letter" and Hester's Identity Essay

"The Scarlet Letter" and Hester's Identity Essay

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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. The Puritans now only see the letter A, the representation of sin, scorn and hate rather than a real living Hester, and her presence seems to disappear in front of their eyes.

Secondly, letter A is an indication for Hester's ability to change her life from darkness and sin into wealth and respect. "Lonely as was Hester's situation, and without a friend on earth", a woman with great mental strength managed her hazardous life by the talent and skill on needle. As a result, "her needle work was seen on the ruff of the Governor; military men wore it on their scarfs, and the minister on his band" and "the exception indicated the ever relentless vigor with which society frowned upon her sin" (77). By that, Hester really had ability to earn living for herself and little daughter Pearl. Not only was she is strong enough to raise a child but Hester can helps the others around as well. The letter became the "symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her - so much power to do, and power to sympathize" and "they said that it meant "able""(131). Such helpfulness for the communi...


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...ore, she repeatedly refuses to stop wearing the letter even after earning the respect of the Puritan society and finding her freedom again. Another reason that Hester chose to wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life is that it is the remembrance of her life in America, a place previously known in her heart as the land of freedom and happiness but then turning out to be a hell of sufferance, restriction and conservation, which prevented her from achieving happiness. In fact the scarlet letter is an important mark on every little event in Hester's life on the transformation and evolution from a weak, poor, helpless young girl into a strong, mature, rich, courage and helpful woman in society. Without it, a reminder of sin and a motive of development, Hester might never find herself and achieve a desirable and outstanding position for a woman in her lifetime.

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