The Scarlet Letter1

This essay has a total of 990 words and 5 pages.

The Scarlet Letter1

A Critical Analysis of Hester Prynne
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1849. This novel won him much
fame and a good reputation as a writer. In writing The Scarlet Letter, Hawethorne was
creating a form of fiction he called the psychological romance. A psychological romance
is a story that contains all of the conventional trappings of a typical romance, but
deeply portrays humans in conflict with themselves. The Scarlet Letter won Hawthorne
great critical acclaim, and even today the book remains on the best seller list. The
Scarlet Letter is so popular maybe because generations of readers can interpret it and see
subtle meanings that somewhat reflect their own lives. Each of us, has goodness like
Hester Prynne, cowardice like Dimmesdale, and even a little evil like Chillingworth. My
favorite character in this book was Hester Prynne because even tough she has done wrong,
she remains happy, solid, and sane. In the following essay I plan to critically analyze
the novel’s protagonist, Hester Prynne.

Hester Prynne is a young woman who was sent to the colonies by her husband, who plans to
join her later but is presumed lost at sea. She is a symbol of the aknowledged sinner; a

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whose sin has been recognized but has sought repentance. Hester is the public sinner who
shows the effect of her punishment on her human nature. She is seen as a fallen woman in
the eyes of the village people. Over the seven years of her punishment Hester’s
internal struggle with her sin changes from a victim of Puritanical judgement to being a
smart woman who is in tune with human nature. When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in
Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, “ The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set
her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not

What is most remarkeable about Hester Prynne is her strength of character. Her inner
strength and honesty and her compassion to others, even ones that have condemned her is
what is brought to the reader’s attention throughout the novel. At the beginning of
the novel Hester is described as a radiant beauty, however seven years later her beauty is
gone and the beautiful hair that she once had is hidden underneath a cap that she wears.
In Chapter 13, she removes the cap and the letter “A” and she becomes the
beautiful person that she was before her punishment. I think that this is symbolic in
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