Hester Prynne In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Society can inflict harsh punishment upon everyone. Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is shunned throughout the novel due to the impact of the scarlet letter. She fights the oppression imposed upon her and instead gains her own self-dependence. Hester redefines the role of women in society. My opinion on this matter is that Hester’s journey creates a greater understanding of how far she has risen above societal stereotypes. Many critics state that Salem’s community restricts Hester Prynne’s freedoms, but I believe that she has limitless independence that can’t be revoked solely by the scarlet letter. Hawthorne introduces his protagonist early in the novel. Many in the Salem community constantly glance at the sight of Hester. She is described…show more content…
Hester’s one true friend, yet enemy, is her daughter Pearl. Pearl symbolically represents the hardships that Hester has faced in order to gain her precious child. While Pearl does bring Hester joy, she also causes her grief. “...little Pearl paused to gather the prickly burrs from a tall burdock which grew beside the tomb...she arranged them along the lines of the scarlet letter” (Hawthorne 130). Pearl is fascinated by the scarlet letter, but her curiosity results in greater sorrow for her mother. Pearl acts as a mediator forcing Hester to not forget her previous actions. Hester has another ally, Dimmesdale, who carries the burden along with Hester, but without any repercussions for the action. He comes to the aid of Hester in her time of need, “‘truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! Gover gave her the child, and gave her, too...’” (Hawthorne 94). Although protesting to retain the custody of Pearl, the Salem elders only acknowledge Dimmesdale response. Dimmesdale is the one person in Salem who attempts to support Hester in a belligerent society. The hostile community consistently glares at the scarlet letter and forgo her as a person. Hester “...had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult…” (Hawthorne 49). Through as time progressed and Hester disregarded society’s influence, "They say that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength" (Hawthorne 134). Hester Prynne begins to show that women in the Salem community do have a say and can be independent. As Confucius states, “The faults of a superior man are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them”. The “punishment” nurtures the notion that Hester has
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