Scarlet Letter

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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In the novel Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester is the mother of Pearl, and is the woman who must wear the scarlet letter. She is the wife of Roger Chillingworth, but Arthur Dimmesdale is Pearl's father. Hester suffers the public humiliation of having to wear the letter "A" on her chest for committing Adultery. Hester and Dimmesdale are entangled in self-delusion because they are both caught up in a false interpretation of their respective sins and in a solid vision of a better life. Hester is confused by her own interpretation of the Scarlet Letter, and Dimmesdale is caught up in Hester's inspiring words for a better life. Hester is let down by the fact that she thinks her punishment and the burdens of her punishment will evaporate along with the removal of the Scarlet Letter. She feels as if she has done her share of penance then life shall precede peachy clean.

Throughout the entire novel Hester being the social outcast, finds no invitation to regret in the law that crushes her. Hester also believes that she can "undo it all" by removing the Letter off her chest. The situation stated here shows that her dream gives way to the misleading on her part. Hester feels as if a burden is lifted from her shoulders; this is her freedom. But more importantly, Hester neglects the fact that the Scarlet Letter burdens her principles as well throughout her life. Her removal of the Scarlet Letter has compelled Hester to believe that she can live without obligation to her punishment by taking it off. And this self-delusion misleads her to not think realistically, and not fully understand that she cannot get rid of her sin or the punishment from her ethics.

Hester by all means shall be in God's hands for all eternity. The conspiracy around Hester was a big hoax; God would never judge her for something of that nature. The greatest sin was the one committed by the townspeople. They blindly followed what the clergy said and ruined Hester's life. Not one person attempted to be her friend, but rather they ignored her. They turned their heads and denied that any injustice was occurring toward this innocent woman. Hester did not intentionally have an affair with Dimmesdale. She was under the impression that her husband had died. Also, in the Puritan times it was not against any law or social rule that premarital sex was bad. Hester was treated like an outcast and was "banished" and forced into her own mode of isolation, as was her daughter pearl who was even more innocent than she. God shall punish those that pose as God and damn anyone who shall try.

Hester was a great character to both analyze and portray, she represented many things to me as I interpreted Hawthorne's novel. I realized that judging Hester as a whore throughout the book made me think how blind of the truth that I really was. Hester wasn't whore; she was a human being, she had her life torn to piece because of a misconstruing of peoples opinions on morals of life. For anyone to point fingers at Hester Pryne for any type of sin based threat need to check reality. She thought that her husband died, that was hard enough for her to face. Then Hester had to face the fate of having complete indulgences to public humiliation. Hester was a beautiful person to me and her presence will make me think of how I should treat people.