Hester's Sense Of Self In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Who Am I?
In this unit of Romanticism, I was able to delve further into what it means to be my own person by looking at the duality of Hester’s sense of self. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester has an internal sense of self but because of external expectations, her sense of self changes and conforms to her environment. From this discovery, I realized that we, humans, all have an internal sense of who we are and what we stand for but at the same time we adjust ourselves because of how we internalize the external expectations of our community. I relate greatly to Hester in this novel because her sense of self seems to be unclear. There is a side to her that shoots off rays of adventure, defiance, and Romanticism but she also
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Pearl displaying Hester’s “wild, desperate, defiant mood” shows her daughter has mimicked those non-Puritan behaviors from her mother because she could not have developed them any other way. However, what often confuses me is how Hester ends up being almost the epitome of Puritanism. Her more Puritan side is apparent when the narrator states,
Much of the marble coldness of Hester’s impression was to be attributed to the circumstance that her life had turned, in a great measure, from passion and feeling, to thought. (Pg. 148)
She becomes less romantic the more she starts to fit in in her community, becoming a grayer version of herself. She is affected by her environment and due to that, she loses the part of her that was guided by “passion and feeling.” Another example I see of this is when Hester comes back to the Puritan community even though she could have stayed with her daughter in a faraway land, forgetting her entire past and starting anew. The narrator
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I see the duality to my own sense of self and how my environment both at Greenhill and my home affects me. I have a more Goth side to me much like Hester’s Romantic side because it is not seen often even though that is part of my internal sense of self. However, due to external expectations and a lot of internalizing those expectations, I have sort of conformed to a more bright and cheerful look. I have a pretty clear sense of who I am but in a way, it is still pretty unclear to others because I have a duality to my behavior. What I draw from finishing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is that humans are complex beings with complex emotions, which is why we are able to adapt to our surroundings to fulfill our need to be accepted both physically and mentally. Therefore, Hester will always have that Romantic side to her but in order to survive mentally in the world around her in her time period, she needs to bring out her Puritan side and externalize that side of her, causing the duality to her sense of

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