Free Essay - Hester as Mother of the Year in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Free Essay - Hester as Mother of the Year in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter - Hester as Mother of the Year



No one is perfect. Especially when it comes to parenting. Even Book characters have trouble being good parents. One example of this is Hester Prynne. She is a book character for the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Now, Hester is not the worst mother, but she is not the best either. How can you be the best mother in the world with a heathenish daughter like Pearl? Still, Hester does her best, and that's all anyone should ask for. Hester is a good mother because she looks out for Pearl's future, she knows when to be stern and she is a great role model.


When people think of a good parent, the usually think of someone who is always looking out for their child's future. Sometimes, that means lying. Unfortunately, Hester runs into this problem when Pearl asks her mother why she wears the Scarlet letter. "'Silly Pearl,' said she, `what questions are these? There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about...I wear it for the sake of its golden thread.'"117 Truly, Hester lied to Pearl about why she wears the scarlet letter. She lied for a good reason. She lied because as you are growing up you adjust to things. If Hester told her the truth, Pearl would have just shrugged off the comments that she heard about her mother. By not telling her, the impact of those harsh comments would effect her more and perhaps stop her from committing the same sin her mother did. Therefore, save her from suffering.


But there is much more to parenting then just looking ahead to the child's future. Being a good parent also means looking at the here and now as well as the future. The here and now can be a code word for discipline. Sometimes, discipline means scaring the child into behaving. This is what Hester has to do on one occasion. "'Do not tease me: else I shall shut thee into the dark closet!'"178 Admittedly, this seems as if Hester is an awful person to threaten her own daughter. At the same time, is it not necessary if the child will not behave?

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The answer is yes. Hester may come off as a bad mother because she does not discipline Pearl, but that is not true. Hester knows when to be rough, like in this quote, and when to be a little easier on Pearl.


Knowing this, like Hester, is a great gift. When most people think of their role model, this is a trait in which their role model has. However, when you are a child, this is something you could not care less about. Never the less, a trait of being a good parent means you are a good role model to your child. This is exactly what Hester is. There are so many instances where Hester could be described as a good role model. But on that really stand out is how a young woman could be strong enough to change the meaning of a letter. "...many people refused to interpret the scarlet "A" by its original signification. They said that it meant "Able"; so strong Hester Prynne..."158 The Narrator reveals this with the intent to make the reader think. Hester really is able. She is so strong that she was able to change something so horrid and cruel into something the whole town desired to have. To have a mother like that would really impact any child's decisions. In other words, they would be so strongly moved that they would start to desire to be just like their mother. Evidently then, the mother, Hester Prynne, would be a role model to the child, Pearl. Another instance that proves Hester is a good role model is when the narrator reveals Hester's talent, "By degrees, nor very slowly, her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion."79 Incidentally, Hester's embroidery was the thing to have. However, the people of Boston still shunned her. But, Hester still worked her hardest on every order she got. This unselfishness act introduces the Golden Rule into her life. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Hester treated the people with kindness and soon that started to be given back to her.


Having a mother like Hester would make anyone grow up into someone who knows right from wrong. So, in conclusion, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. But Hester Prynne is fully capable of receiving the title: A good Mother. She is capable because she looks out for Pearl's future, she knows when to be stern and she is a great role model. Hester may not be the perfect mother, but she sure comes close.


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