Essay about The Scarlet Letter, By Toni Morrison

1212 Words Nov 5th, 2016 5 Pages
When reading a book, readers quickly label characters as heroes or villains. However, some author’s make this categorizing process very difficult by introducing complex characters. While these types of characters are more realistic, for they resemble real people by being difficult to understand, they challenge the reader’s understanding. The complexity of such characters’ force readers to question the meaning of labels such as ‘hero’ or ‘villain’. Likewise, both Nathaniel Hawthorn, author of The Scarlet Letter, and Toni Morrison, author of Sula, force their readers to question the meaning of the word ‘hero’ through their main characters: Hester Prynne and Sula Peace. These books depict Hester Prynne and Sula Peace as sinful or evil. However, the traumatic experiences that alienate them from society forces these characters to question the moral righteousness of their communities, a noble action which characterizes these women as heroines in their individual stories.

The traumatic experiences Hester and Sula endure haunt them and eventually isolate them from their individual societies. As punishment for her sin of adultery, Hester experiences a public shaming. The narrator captures Hester’s feelings during this event when he states, “her heart had been flung into the street for them all to spurn and trample upon” (Hawthorn, 52). The use of the word ‘spurn’ and ‘trample’ convey the effect of the public shaming, for the whole town judges and mocks Hester. Not only must she…

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