Analysis Of Hester's Self-Made Identity In The Scarlet Letter

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Hester’s Self- Made Identity, and The Identity Society Burdens Her With:
In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main turmoil of the story follows a young woman who is burdened by the austere constraints of the Puritanical society she lives in. For her punishment of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet letter on her chest at all times representing her shame for the world to see. Throughout the novel, the letter, among other things, gains a vulgar reputation in the town to which many form their own opinions on who Hester is. Hester goes through many stages in her life where she finds herself in many differing situations mentally. Hester’s sense of self-confidence is consistent through the many obstacles of her life, despite the
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While, on the other hand, the people in the town who can walk past her and very clearly see the scarlet letter on her chest have already formed their demeaning opinion of her. Through the town’s eyes, Hester is a sinner, an outcast, and that opinion is communally appreciated. The town as a whole find no place in their hearts to give her any sympathy because of her previous actions. The townspeople truly see her as an outsider, and hence, push her away from their Puritan lifestyle. Because the scarlet letter is a new symbol and people easily take notice to it, the townspeople look at her, and know that she is someone to degrade. But why do they do this? When looking at what the Puritan society as a whole believe, they have a model for the type of person they want their followers to be, a perfect puritan. This is also the case for the type of women their strict society approves of. When the woman does not fit the mold made for the women of the time, an opinion is formed. Although The Scarlet Letter was written in 1850, the concept of social norms was still very relevant. Social norms lead us to decide what is right and wrong, but subconsciously they affect the …show more content…
Hester is known to be compassionate, as she cares for her child with all of her heart, she wants Pearl to live her best life. Hester finds confidence in herself as she is able to wear the scarlet letter and uses it as a learning experience. Hester never looks at the letter as something that may weigh her down, but a symbol of how hard she is willing to work to regain her role in the Puritan community. At the start of the novel, Hester starts to inform herself of who she desires to become, thus making her own decisions as she slowly figures out who she truly wants to be. Through this she doesn’t fulfil the needs of what the Puritan people are looking for within their norm, in this the townspeople, by looking at the scarlet letter find her unsuitable for the religion she wants to ascribe to. Hester knows who she can be and who she is inside, whether the people in the town see that or not. She believes that god knows that she is a religious, thoughtful, and caring person. As she strives to be someone that her daughter can look up to. She does not take any of her punishments lightly, as She wants to ensure her place in the Puritan community, a community she believes she belongs in. This moral strength translates deeply into the character Hester wants to assign herself as. When Hester is seen as someone who doesn’t fit the mold

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