The Scarlett Letter: Letter, And Character Changes In The Scarlet Letter

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Hester changes in many ways during the course of The Scarlet Letter. She changes because of both internal, and external factors. Hester is motivated by community, religion, guilt, unhappiness, punishment, Chillingworth, and the scarlet letter itself. The way in which Hester is viewed within the community changes throughout the novel. In the beginning Hester is viewed by the community as a sinful, but beautiful young woman, yet towards the end of the novel the people in society begin to view her as able, and skilled. She has lost her femininity and has fallen from grace, because of the changes caused by the scarlet letter. Hester goes from being considered beautiful to unsexed and sinful and then to a respected and able seamstress. Hester is …show more content…
The “A” was meant to be a symbol of shame that would distinguish sinners from the rest of community as well as punishing them. The letter is presented in the novel as “artistically done...fertility, gorgeous luxuriance”(Hawthorne 50). and while it is a sign of shame Hester stands strong and changes what it means through charity, work, and penance. The letter is viewed by the townspeople as a symbol that represents sin and the work of the devil. The letter forced Hester to become an outsider which opened her eyes to all the problems in the puritanical religion, and caused her to change. The one thing the Puritans valued most was purity. Both purity of the body, and purity of the faith. The scarlet letter was a blemish on the beliefs of the puritan society. At first the townspeople see the letter as a representation adultery, and sin. However, as time passes the scarlet letter becomes a symbol of harvard, skill, charity, and respect. Mid-way through the novel the townspeople begin to refuse “to interpret the scarlet by its original signification.They said it meant “Able”; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman 's strength.”(Hawthorne 152). The letter is even viewed as a symbol of high importance to those who are not from the community such as the butler from Governor Bellingham 's house. The Symbolic value of the “A” changes so much that Hawthornes claims “The Scarlet letter had not done its office.”(Hawthorne 157). It had not shamed Hester for eternity the way it was supposed to but instead made her revered among the towns

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