Essay about The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay about The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s well known novel, The Scarlet Letter, extensive diction and intense imagery are used to portray the overall tone of the characters. In particular, Hester Prynne, the wearer of the Scarlet Letter, receives plentiful positive characterization throughout the novel. Hester’s character most notably develops through the town’s peoples ever-changing views on the scarlet letter, the copious mentions of her bravery, and her ability to take care of herself, Pearl, and others, even when she reaches the point where most would give up and wallow in their suffering.
One of Hester’s greatest qualities is her unrelenting selflessness. Despite her constant mental anguish due to her sin, the constant stares and rude comments, and the lack of civil adult contact, Hester lives and breaths for two things: Pearl and helping others. Hester sews garments for the poor, takes care of those who are ill, and persists in her good works even when those she aids may spit in her face. By the end of the novel, she becomes so synonymous with charity that the townspeople pronounce the scarlet A on her chest to stand for ‘able’ instead of ‘adultery’. In fact, the people also go from condemning her for her sin to proclaiming Hester had “no selfish ends, nor lived in any measure of her own profit and enjoyment, people brought all their sorrows and perplexities, and besought her counsel, as one who had herself gone through a mighty trouble.” (179-180). The people began to recognize Hester’s heart of gold and understand how invaluable her advice can be. Hester had stumbled and fallen on her way to Heaven, but she so earnestly sought clemency that no one could deny her call to Heaven.
When Hester’s crime is first discovered, the people view h...


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...ter must put the pieces of her life back together, she continues to show her iron backbone and sheer determination by using her marvelous talent with needle work “to supply food for her thriving infant and herself.” (56). Some of her clients relish in making snide remarks and lewd commends towards Hester while she works, yet Hester never gives them the satisfaction of her reaction.
Nathaniel Hawthorne paints Hester Prynne as a person, a person that made mistakes, but who worked tirelessly to atone for them. Hawthorne’s use of of positive diction and profound imagery also set Hester’s tone as a woman scorned, but who rose above the shame to become an amazing person. Hawthorne specifically choose to make Hester kind, and brave, and selfless to drive home the point that just because a person does bad things, does not mean they are a bad person; it means they are human.

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