Scarlet Letter7 Essay

This essay has a total of 1384 words and 7 pages.


Scarlet Letter7






Sarah DeHaven


Hester’s Experiences


Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester’s
experiences in and out of the Puritan society and the weight of the scarlet letter change
her in many ways, including her level of confidence, her appearance and her outlook on the
Puritan people, and the way she feels about the letter “A”. Due to the sin
committed by Hester she became the outcast of the Puritan community. She was forced to
begin a new life on her own with no support from anyone. The sudden vicissitudes in her
life cause a great transformation in Hester.


In the beginning of the novel Hester shows a tremendous amount of confidence, which she is
not afraid to show, but eventually she hides this boldness and yields to the torment of
the Puritan people. When Hester is being led out of the jail by the town beadle
“she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character,
and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free will.” (Pg 60) By stepping out
of the jail like this Hester showed and amazing amount of courage, knowing that she was
about to receive the peoples’ mockery. While Hester displayed confidence here,
later in the novel she doesn’t show that assurance as much, and receives the
ridicule with embarrassment and broken heartedness. The people of the town “were
accustomed to distill drops of bitterness into her heart” but “Hester had
schooled herself long and well; she never responded to these attacks, save by a flush of
crimson that rose irrepressibly over


the pale cheek.” (Pg 88) Hester emerged from the jail with strength but was forced
to change, and hide this strength to get along the best she could and continue to support
herself and her daughter.


Living outside of the Puritan society allowed Hester to change the way she saw the people
of the town and the way she looked herself. Hester lived on the outskirts of town and was
no longer a real part of the community, because of this she was able to see people from a
different point of view. “The scarlet letter had endowed her with a new sense. She
shuddered to believe that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other
hearts.” (Pg 89) Also Hester’s appearance changed. Living away from the
Puritan society and the constant presence of the scarlet letter caused this. Hester was
once a “young woman with a figure of perfect elegance and dark abundant hair and a
face so beautiful.” (Pg 60) The effect of the symbol caused “ all the light
and graceful foliage of her character to whither up by this red-hot brand.” (Pg 157)
She changed form an attractive person to a harsh repulsive figure.


At the end of the novel, Hester was no longer completely ashamed of her letter
“A” but actually had some pride in wearing it. The scarlet letter was given
to Hester as a form of punishment for her sin and caused extreme embarrassment.
“Continually did she fell the innumerable throbs of anguish that had been so
convincingly contrived for her by the undying, the ever active sentence of the Puritan
tribunal.” (Pg 88) Though embarrassed, Hester still did good things and ended up
wearing the letter with pride. “Such helpfulness was found in her that many


people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original signification.
They said that it meant “Able.” (Pg 156) Hester could go into town without
people looking at her as though she were evil.
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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