Examples Of Hester Prynne In The Scarlet Letter

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Hester: “Able” to Wear The Scarlet Letter As Helen Keller once said “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” This undoubtedly played out in the character of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Plagued by society due to an adulteress affair, with Puritan minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester continuously suffers and is deemed as an outcast. Despite this public scorning, Hester develops a sense of inner strength. As a result of the affair Hester gives birth to a daughter named Pearl. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s len husband, learns of the affair and is determined to find out who Hester was …show more content…
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester is at the core of the problem in the story. Living in the Puritan Society, committing adultery was considered an unlawful act. People convicted of this crime spent time in jail, had to wear a public sign of adultery and were publicly shamed by all. Hester experienced all of these consequences as a result of her adulterous affair with Dimmesdale. For example, in the setting of the story Hester is walking out from the jail to be on public display on the scaffold as an adulteress. On her bosom she is forced to wear the letter “A” which she beautifully embroidered with gold and scarlet thread. The letter labeled her for all to see. When she walked through the streets children would mock her, and priests would often stop and give a public lecture using her as an example. “Children, too young to comprehend wherefore this woman should be shut out from the sphere of human charities,would creep nigh enough to behold her plying her needle at the cottage window, or standing in the doorway, or laboring in her little garden, or coming forth along the pathway that led townward, and, discerning the scarlet letter on her breast, would scamper off with a strange contagious fear” (Hawthorne 90). Hester and her daughter ,Pearl, were isolated from the Puritan society and lived in a small cottage, away from the …show more content…
Hester endured the public punishing for seven years. During this time, she uses her needlework to make clothing for the poor and less fortunate as well as many other people including the governor. She gives food to the poor, nurses the sick, and helps those in times of trouble. Nearing the end of the seven years, the people in town did not view her as harshly due to her compassion she showed to others. In fact, the Scarlett Letter “A” came to be viewed by the townspeople as “Able” rather than “Adulter”. “Many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Morey 65). Hester and Dimmesdale continued to be secretly devoted to each other. They plan to escape the public scrutiny and move to England. Eventually, Chillingworth discovers that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father and seeks his revenge as Dimmesdale’s doctor. He plays mental games to make the priest feel the enormous weight of his sin. Dimmesdale’s guilt associated with the affair combined with Chillingworth’s mind games drove him to his public confession and even death. In the end Hester was buried next to Dimmesdale but was far enough away so that,”the dust of the two sleepers had no right to mingle”( Hawthorne

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