Hester Prynne Punishment Essay

794 Words 4 Pages
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s romantic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced by Puritan leaders in Boston to wear the letter “A” across her chest as a punishment for her sin of adultery. Despite the isolation and humiliation she experiences in the town, Hester decides that this punishment is not enough, so she executes acts of penance. These acts add to her embarrassment, however, it is her own decision to punish herself. Hester is able to express herself in many ways, proving that the Puritan government fail in repressing her. Although Hester is granted the option to leave Boston, she decides to stay to deal with her daily repentance and punishment and to protect Arthur Dimmesdale, her secret lover and the father of her child. She does not want to escape her punishments because she feels that she deserves them for sinning. The narrator states that “[Boston] had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be …show more content…
While standing on the scaffold, the townspeople notice that Hester decorated the A in gold and red, which changes the letter from a punishment to an accessory that other women envy. Through her charitable deeds, Hester is able to gain respect from the townspeople. Donating clothing to the poor changes the townspeople’s perspective on the meaning of the scarlet letter. The narrator says “...many people refused to interpret the scarlet letter A by its original signification. They said it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (141). The people of Boston used to look down on Hester, however, once they realize how kind she is to everyone, even those who insult her, they begin to admire and brag about her strength and her big heart. Moreover, they even start to forgive her for her sin. The Puritans even consider letting Hester remove the scarlet letter from her chest, but she refuses, another act of

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