Rationalizing Hester Prynne In The Scarlet Letter

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Across most of history, women predominantly have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. In puritan societies, women’s most significant professions ranged from wifehood to motherhood. Excluded from participation in town meetings and church decision making, these females were treated harshly in the Puritan commonwealth and were viewed as an implement of Satan. The protagonist of the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne, is vividly portrayed as a rebuked female figure in this respective era. Obstinate lustful woman as she is initially characterized, the scarlet letter wearer demonstrates a fusion of passionate and indifferent traits for which she is praised by numerous readers. Hence classifying her…show more content…
Contrary to the puritan society’s speculation, “the scarlet letter had not done its office”(Hawthorne 150). The sole purpose of scarlet letter was to rationalize Hester and position her back to an appropriate place. Ironically, this penance did just the contrary, making Hester a revolutionary. “She assumed a freedom of speculation” due to her isolation from society and made her capable of recognizing others sins.(Hawthrone 149) The segregation she undergoes causes her to speculate upon the uneven distribution of power through her society. As she ponders, the protagonist questions the existing long-established patriarchal society with her newly sculpted psychological freedom. With this in mind she discerns a formula for socially change that includes “as a first step, the whole system of society is to be torn town and built anew”(Hawthrone 150). She further goes on to propose that the attitude of both men and women has to be altered in order to achieve this utopian state. Her process of rationalizing analytically reflects upon her heroism with respect to a hero’s audacity to think in an unprecedented manner. In a society purely based on hypocrisy, Hester emerges as a transcendentalist idealist, thus highlighting her heroism. Further examining this novel’s resolution, the readers are informed that Hester resides for the rest of her days in the cottage where she has been excluded from society. “On a field, sable, the letter A, gules”(Hawthorne 235). Hawthorne aims to project on this final quotation the legacy left behind by the significance of the scarlet letter, tragic yet heroic. Her abnormal comportment set the foundation of modern feminism, honoring her the title of a tragic

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