In Junein Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman who has given birth to a baby of unknown parentage.
While Hawthorne does not give a great deal of information about her life before the book opens, he does show her remarkable character, revealed through her public humiliation and subsequent, isolated life in Puritan society.
Her inner strength, her defiance of convention, her honesty, and her compassion may have been in her character all along, but the scarlet letter brings them to our attention. She is, in the end, a survivor. Hester is physically described in the first scaffold scene as a tall young woman with a "figure of perfect elegance on a large scale.
In fact, so physically stunning is she that "her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped. Her beautiful hair is hidden under her cap, her beauty and warmth are gone, buried under the burden of the elaborate scarlet letter on her bosom.
When she removes the letter and takes off her cap in Chapter 13, she once again becomes the radiant beauty of seven years earlier.
Symbolically, when Hester removes the letter and takes off the cap, she is, in effect, removing the harsh, stark, unbending Puritan social and moral structure. Hester is only to have a brief respite, however, because Pearl angrily demands she resume wearing the scarlet A.
With the scarlet letter and her hair back in place, "her beauty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her.
What we know about Hester from the days prior to her punishment is that she came from a "genteel but impoverished English family" of notable lineage. She married the much older Roger Chillingworth, who spent long hours over his books and experiments; yet she convinced herself that she was happy.
When they left Amsterdam for the New World, he sent her ahead, but he was reportedly lost at sea, leaving Hester alone among the Puritans of Boston. Officially, she is a widow. While not a Puritan herself, Hester looks to Arthur Dimmesdale for comfort and spiritual guidance.
|The Scarlet Letter - Essay||Throughout time, people have committed all types of sins, and whether they are major or minor, people have been punished for them.|
|From the SparkNotes Blog||The main characters, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, and the Puritan society represented by the townspeople, all sinned. This story is a study of the effects of sin on the hearts and minds of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth.|
|The Scarlet Letter Quotes by Nathaniel Hawthorne||Generally speaking, a symbol is something used to stand for something else. In literature, a symbol is most often a concrete object used to represent an idea more abstract and broader in scope and meaning — often a moral, religious, or philosophical concept or value.|
|The Scarlet Letter - Wikipedia||Some of these works should be scrupulously analyzed to be understood in their full complexity.|
Somewhere during this period of time, their solace becomes passion and results in the birth of Pearl. The reader first meets the incredibly strong Hester on the scaffold with Pearl in her arms, beginning her punishment.
On the scaffold, she displays a sense of irony and contempt. The irony is present in the elaborate needlework of the scarlet letter.
There are "fantastic flourishes of gold-thread," and the letter is ornately decorative, significantly beyond the colony's laws that call for somber, unadorned attire. The first description of Hester notes her "natural dignity and force of character" and mentions specifically the haughty smile and strong glance that reveal no self-consciousness of her plight.
While she might be feeling agony as if "her heart had been flung into the street for them all to spurn and trample upon," her face reveals no such thought, and her demeanor is described as "haughty. In this first scene, Dimmesdale implores her to name the father of the baby and her penance may be lightened.
Hester's self-reliance and inner strength are further revealed in her defiance of the law and in her iron will during her confrontation with the governor of the colony.4 Themes in The Scarlet Letter Themes in The Scarlet Letter #1: Identity “Identity” by The Blue Diamond Gallery (CC BY-SA ) Different themes in The Scarlet Letter apply to different characters, and the theme of identity is most applicable to Hester.
From the beginning of the book, the people of the Massachusetts Bay Colony determine Hester’s identity for her. All the magistrates can do is force Hester to wear a scarlet letter: Hester is the one making herself endure the punishment of sticking around in a community that runs on judgment.
Chapter 5 Summary Justice and Judgment.
Home Essays The Scarlet Letter Paper. The Scarlet Letter Paper. Topics: The Scarlet Letter Throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter, During the first few years of Hester's punishment, the letter was a daily reminder of shame and embarrassment.
Hawthorne describes the progression of the 'A' as a “ dreadful agony in feeling a human.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the characters’ hypocrisy represents the pervasiveness of hypocrisy in all people. Hypocrisy is evident in all of The Scarlet Letter’s main characters: Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, the town of Boston, and Pearl.
Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Research Papers Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter research papers analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel. Symbolism in The Scarlett Letter research papers focus on exactly what the letter represents to the characters in the timberdesignmag.com the literature writers from Paper Masters help write your research paper Hawthorne's classic novel.
In The Scarlet Letter, the idea of sin and punishment is the main topic of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery.
Sin was and is a major theme in our world, and more than likely it will continue to be a major part of this world/5(1).