From the first scene on the scaffold, Hester’s scarlet letter and her intense shame define her character. Her A thoroughly isolates her and Pearl from the world around them, even in a crowd of familiar faces. Standing on the scaffold, the scarlet letter appears to burn brighter than anything else about Hester and her life, revealing the great effects that it will leave on her, described by Hawthorne as having “the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorne 51). This embodies not only the aura of Hester’s isolation, but the deep contrast between her public humiliation and Dimmesdale’s closeted sin, which only intensifies Hester’s grief and her longing to be in Dimmesdale’s position.
Hester attempts to mask her disgraceful sin with Pearl, who acts as a barrier between the world and Hester, regardless of her young age. As Hester stands in front of the whole town, the only thing she has to grasp and love is her daughter, Pearl. She is the only person who accepts Hester, which causes their connection to grow stronger. In both a loving and hostile manner, Hester grabs Pearl hard enough to force tears: “She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turne...
... middle of paper ...
...(Hawthorne 74). Although she is no longer the recipient of cold stares or mockery in the marketplace, Hester is lonesome in an entirely different manner than she used to be. She lives an independent lifestyle, one of which she is satisfied with, as opposed to being the victim of public shame. Self actualizing Hester’s life and her place in this world, she reaches authentic happiness and captivates the sympathy of her audience.
Nathaniel Hawthorne manifests Hester Prynne as a complex character, one with various personality traits and levels of emotional attachment. As her story evolves, literary devices enhance its meaning from one of guilt and shame to one that carries nostalgia and sentiment at its roots. The ability to read and interpret countless metaphorical symbols and uses of figurative language throughout has kept readers intrigued for close to 160 years.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
930 words (2.7 pages)
- In the novel the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character Hester Prynne sinned by committing adultery which changes her identity while she wears the Scarlet Letter. “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity” (Erik Erikson). The way the scarlet letter defines Hester as someone who sinned in her society. The way that her society reacted to her with the scarlet letter, made her question her identity of who she is with the scarlet letter.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1343 words (3.8 pages)
- When the fate of the scarlet letter encompasses the beholder, it transforms their souls into the symbolic image of Yin VS. Yang. A common Chinese symbol that displays good vs. evil. As the essence of good (Yang) exists through charitable acts, and those who live life with an open heart. Whereas, the power, and the darker side of the light (Yin) comes through as being hidden from society, and relating symbols in life to the underworld. Two opposite sides of the spectrum clashing against one another to coincide.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1437 words (4.1 pages)
- Pranav Damera Mr. Mackechnie English Period 6 9 May 2015 “A” in the Scarlet Letter According to Webster Dictionary, adultery is sex between a married person and someone who is not that person 's wife or husband. Even though this is still considered immoral nowadays, it is not dealt with as harshly by countries today as the Puritans. The scarlet letter “A” in the Scarlet Letter has many different meanings throughout the book. The “A” serves as a symbol throughout and helps show the suffering and strength of Hester Prynne as a character.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1618 words (4.6 pages)
- Throughout the course of history, the concept of women being subordinate to men has always existed. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a woman named Hester Prynne tries to break prejudicial notions against women in a patriarchal society. In the story, Hester commits the crime of adultery and is sentenced by the government to wear a scarlet letter as it symbolizes ignominy. Since she lives in Puritan New England, the people do not value women a lot, her actions becomes a sight of public scrutiny.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
2438 words (7 pages)
- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1855 words (5.3 pages)
- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, adversity hinders Hester Prynne in her lust for prosperity. Hester struggles to accept her doomed fate brought on by the adultery she committed a few years back. Constantly reminded by the scarlet ‘A’ embroidered on her chest and her little Pearl, Hester struggles to break free and move on from her past. Society’s prevalent judgment, Hester’s strength, and her personal relationships keep her in the center of her sin in Massachusetts as she toils with her guilt and the secret of who father’s little Pearl.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
999 words (2.9 pages)
- The Other F-Word: Feminism in The Scarlet Letter The concept of feminism is defined as “political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (Merriam-Webster). Contrary to prior belief, it is not raising women above men. This was a fear held by many men in the nineteenth century. Therefore, Hawthorne was restricted in how he made the characters of The Scarlet Letter powerful within the society by what society feared. Throughout the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to write a novel that is ahead of its time by showing feminist tendencies through Hester, however the constraints of his society and that of Puritan society force his writing to portray women in a negative light.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
990 words (2.8 pages)
- Near the great Atlantic, in the early Puritan settlement of Boston, heinous sins, those of adultery and hypocrisy, threaten the Puritans holy way of life. Secrets, lies, and deceptions cloud the air in this 17th century town, and once unraveled, lead three once pure hearts into destruction. A simple, scarlet letter “A” comes to represent the errors of these characters, and the corruption of their once unadulterated souls. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the theme that even well-meaning secrets and deceptions can lead to destruction.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1640 words (4.7 pages)
- For many people, a sin of significant magnitude is a burden that may live with them for the rest of their lives. The effects of this sin can manifest in many ways, be it mentally, physically, or spiritually. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are all living with an enormous burden of sin, each reflecting their inner torture caused by this sin differently. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys the effects of sin on each character through Hester’s ostracism from society, both physically and emotionally due to her sin of adultery, through Dimmesdale’s sickness and self- inflicted suffering due to his sin of hypocrisy, and through Chillingworth’s transformatio... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1155 words (3.3 pages)