Individualism In The Scarlet Letter

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"It made her the very brightest little jet of flame that ever danced upon the earth" (Hawthorne, p.96). ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ written by the critically acclaimed author Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a suspenseful and dramatic novel that follows the struggles and triumphs of Hester Prynne as she attempts to preserve her personality. Born in England in the seventeenth century, Hester’s husband, Chilingworth, sends her across the world to Boston, before becoming lost at sea. Presuming him as dead, Hester falls in love with her minister, Dimmesdale, and becomes pregnant as a result. She is found guilty of being an adulteress, and must wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ as her punishment. Sequestered from society, Hester must learn to raise her child alone, and …show more content…
The rose bush beside the jail is a significant symbol of individualism. The jail represents the rigid and judgemental society Hester, the rose bush, must learn to grow in. Hester is the “sweet moral blossom” among “human frailty and sorrow,” (Hawthorne, p.42) and her personality is kept alive even in cold, harsh conditions. In spite of all the suffering that Hester faces, she refuses to let the self-righteous people in her community kill her individuality. The scarlet letter itself is another symbol of the theme. The people of Boston, recognise the scarlet letter that Hester is forced to wear as a symbol of her shame and sin. However, the symbolism of the letter evolves as the novel progresses. The narrator describes the scarlet letter as having “the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorne, p.47). The scarlet letter differentiates her from the people around her, and it is what allows her to triumph over society. Both the rose bush and the scarlet letter clearly and purposefully illustrate Hester’s ability to maintain her individuality. The events that unfold throughout the novel also play a crucial role in developing the …show more content…
The main protagonist Hester is the embodiment of individuality. Through the use of symbols and the events that occur throughout the novel, Hawthorne adeptly reveals this theme. The setting of the novel further exemplifies the theme. The use of these four elements allows the author to send his main message across to his readers; that the restricting individuality will eventually warp and destroy a person’s soul. For Hester, being alienated “made her strong” (Hawthorne, p.177). Her strength of character allowed her to become prosperous in life, which is what the author of this wildly successful novel aimed to portray to his

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