Hester Prynne Rebellion In The Scarlet Letter Essay

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Hester Prynne: Rebellion in the Hands of a Labeled Conformist In the Puritan Era of colonial North America, Anne Hutchinson was banished for publicly questioning the Reformed Anglican Church. Hutchinson said she could interpret the Bible and that God spoke to her. The patriarchal society of the Puritan era was shocked by that statement and immediately sought to put Hutchinson back into submission. Similarly in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” for committing adultery. The letter is meant to mark Hester and surround her with the shame of the sin she has committed. However, Hester works continuously to clothe the poor and raise her child, Pearl to prove herself to …show more content…
“She never battled with the public, but submitted, uncomplainingly,” no matter how they treated her (Hawthorne 150). After having “her heart … flung into the street for them all to spurn and trample upon” by the townspeople, Hester retreats to the outskirts of town and takes up a small role embroidering (48). “Hester sought not to acquire any thing beyond a subsistence, of the plainest and most ascetic description, for herself, and a simple abundance for her child” (76). To repent for her sin, Hester feels she must lead a life of simplicity and devotion to others. She helps the rich and the poor the same, making intricate designs for the wealthy and humble clothing for the underprivileged. She puts her passion and individuality on hold because she classifies them as joys, something not permitted because of their connection to sin. After seven years of dedicating her life to anything but herself, Hester’s labeled A for adultery matured into being A for able. The townspeople think so highly of Hester’s actions and now simply “refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original significance” (151). Hester also spends this time raising her daughter, Pearl. Hester is in awe of her daughter’s courage and “uncontrollable will” because she is not sure where Pearl got it from. She relentlessly follows society’s expectations and slowly begins to wonder for what reason has she done it …show more content…
She is locked inside of herself for seven years without any friends or even acquaintances to share her feelings. “In her lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore, thoughts visited her, such as dared to enter no other dwelling in New England” (154). Due to her ostracism from society, she develops rebellious ideals. She questions the nature of man versus the beliefs of puritanism. She questions the outcome of her child Pearl. If adultery was a sin, why would her child be beautiful and prideful? Pearl is the child of sin, yet her personality blossoms of self worth and confidence. “[A]n unflinching courage,―an uncontrollable will,―a sturdy pride, which might be disciplined into self-respect,” are seen emerging from young Pearl. The scarlet letter A that is supposed to penetrate Hester’s entire life with guilt and shame “had not done its office” (156). Hester “had never before been false to the symbol on her bosom” yet now that she has allowed herself to think freely, she is escaping its grasp (172). She is thinking for herself after realizing what her conformity took away from her. “Some attribute had departed from her, the permanence of which had been essential to keep her a woman” (153). Her constant devotion to others allowed Hester to lose parts of herself. She finally realizes that her femininity has been stripped away by the scarlet

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