Hester Prynne In 'The Scarlet Letter'

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It is a question if Hester Prynne is actually sorry for the acts she committed. Hester Prynne, in the Scarlet Letter, commits the sin of adultery and is branded with a letter ‘A’ being embroidered on her dress. She accepts this punishment, as she believes she deserves the public ridicule and shame. However, Nina Baym in “Who? The Character.” The Scarlet Letter: A Reading, states she believes Hester isn’t as sorry as she seems to the townsfolk. Baym believes Hester does try to realize the choices she made was wrong, but argues because Hester still loves Arthur Dimmesdale and her child of sin, Hester is not sorry. Yet, looking at the textual evidence, another opinion comes into mind.

Baym wonders how Hester can believe her sin was wrong if
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Arthur Dimmesdale, the revered town minister, well spoken and sturdy in his first appearance, the last person to ever be expected to have sinned with Hester Prynne. Now, going with the statement that this is in fact true, Dimmesdale must return love to Hester as well, right? “Such was the ruin to which she had brought the man, once,-nay, why should we not speak it?-still so passionately loved!” -Chapter 17, Page 306. Hester’s admittance to her love of Dimmesdale does go with Baym’s statement, but is it enough to prove Hester doesn’t feel guilty. Certainly, on the very same page, Dimmesdale and Hester both start to try and make themselves feel better- “We are not, Hester, the worst sinner in the world,” But doesn’t every human do this at one point in their life? Casting blame on someone else to make your own self feel better-it’s a very human emotion. Not to forget, these two are reeling and revealing in the fact that their love has been unrequited for seven years, shown in Dimmesdale rapidly declining health. This certain scene could be a moment of weakness for these characters, that might just be all. Meanwhile, back in Chapter 13, on Page 252; “This letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her,-so much power to do, and the power to sympathize,-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman 's strength.” If Hester is in the belief that she has done no wrong, then why are the townsfolk willing to remove it’s true meaning and give her a positive meaning behind the letter? Surely, Hester would have flaunted herself with pride if she was not ashamed of her sin, continuously irking the townsfolk. Because Hester is aware and ashamed that her deed was a wrongful action, she helps where she can, keeping her head down and lowered, bearing the weight of her choices down on her

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