The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1365 Words Nov 28th, 2016 6 Pages
Being the bystander is as dangerous as being the perpetrator. Nathaniel Hawthorne exemplifies this adage in his novel, The Scarlet Letter, through his brilliant characterization of the protagonist: Hester Prynne. Hawthorne follows Hester’s lamentable alienation from society through her affair with Arthur Dimmesdale. In her segregation, Hester is revealed as an affectionate, intelligent, and sympathetic figure that is forced to persevere and endlessly battle the constant, everyday struggles of her shameful life. In a spring of independence, Hester establishes radical views of human nature and social organization. However, although Hester’s anguish allows her to explore her freedom of thought, it restricts her freedom of action. Nathaniel Hawthorne sympathetically and reverently develops Hester Prynne as an icon of subjugated women in Puritan society through juxtaposition, figurative language, and imagery in order to reveal that indifference is the greatest flaw in society. Hawthorne’s employment of juxtaposition highlights the significant differences between Hester and the Puritan community, which puts Hester in a favorable light. Before Hawthorne introduces Hester Prynne, he sets up her character through the townswomen’s opinions as a delinquent in need of social redemption. Against this backdrop, Hawthorne reveals Hester Prynne’s true personality as she shrugs off the town-beadle in “an action marked with natural dignity and force of character” (Hawthorne 31). Even…

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