Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' The Scarlet Letter ' Essay

1561 Words Mar 22nd, 2016 7 Pages
When Nathaniel Hawthorne set out to write “The Great American Novel” in the late 1840s, he knew a level of complexity would be necessary to convey the many aspects of each character. Hawthorne achieved this level of complexity partially by using visible characteristics to show the internal development of each character. Throughout the novel, Hester Prynne evolves from a position of pure, haughty defiance to a more resigned, complacent position in society. Hawthorne uses Hester’s beauty and outward appearance to show this transformation. Hawthorne also uses Hester’s aging and appearance to show her change into a maternal figure. At the start of the novel, while Hester is technically a mother, she is hardly maternal in nature. However later in the novel her motherly affection extends, outside of her own daughter, to all of society. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses visible and audible aspects of Hester Prynne to show her internal evolution from a defiant, individualistic girl to a maternal, calm, cooperative women. At the start of the novel, we first learn about Hester through the whispers of the crowd. However our first true introduction to Hester occurs in the third chapter when she steps out of the jail. A staff member tries to lead her out in front of the crowd but “she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character”.(pg 43) This initial rebellious act shows how much pride and defiance Hester starts the novel with. The use of phrases…

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