Hester Prynne's Identity And Identity In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1930 Words 8 Pages
In the exposition of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, an unnamed narrator notices a manuscript, attached to it a scarlet, golden embroidered A. After finding this the narrator chooses to write the fictional accounts of Hester Prynne and her struggle with her identity after committing one of the worst sins in accordance to the Puritan times. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates how sin can be detrimental on a person 's character, and how it affects their identity.
When Hester Prynne is first introduced to the reader, Hester is widely gossiped about and highly criticized for her wrongdoings. When she is first seen by the public she walks out of the jail house with her baby and scarlet letter. Although she
…show more content…
She is still consumed in her sin, and an despised by her community, however, she starts to understand that there were positive outcomes from such a terrible act. Hester Prynne finds a new part of her identity in her daughter, Pearl. Hester names her child Pearl as a symbol of the great price she paid for the child. As her only treasure, Hester paid with all she had. Hester begins to understand that Pearl consequence of her sin, the narrator explains the fear Hester has for Pearl, stating how “she looked fearfully into the child’s expanding nature, ever dreading to detect some dark and wild peculiarity” (82). Hester only fears for her child because she loves her so much. If they beautiful blessing was work of the devil in consequence for her unfaithfulness, she would be unable to raise her. The beauty she finds her her child, exemplifies the shift in how Hester feels about herself and her identity. Hester understands that Pearl is the one positive aspect coming out of her choices, which gives Hester a more positive view of herself. She begins to identify less with her sin, and more with her child, and how she grows from her mistakes. For example, when Hester goes to the governor 's mansion after she hears rumors that they may takes Pearl from her mother, she explains her love for the child. She tells the governor how she can teach Pearl from her …show more content…
Hester goes to the forest meet Dimmesdale, and comes out completely transformed and has forgiven herself for her past. Pearl is constantly asking her mother what the mark upon her chest means. For the first time her mother gives her an answer. In the forest Hester tells her child that scarlet letter is the mark from the one time in her life she met the black man. By telling this to Pearl, she admits to what she did was wrong, but it is in the past. Opening up about her past, however vague is a way of reconciling her sins with herself. By addressing the fact she briefly went into the dark side and was tempted by the devil she can move on. After discussing with Dimmesdale, they both find forgiveness in each other and are able to remove their identities from the single sin they committed together seven years prior. So symbolic is this forgiveness, Hester is finally able to feel as if she can take off her scarlet letter. Although the public has previously told her she could remove her badge of shame, she had never felt as if it were right. She felt undeserving. Chillingworth had explained to Hester that the magistrate would allow her to remove her scarlet letter. At this point in the novel she still identifies with her sin, and remarks, “were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature” (153). The reluctance to forgive

Related Documents