How Hester Changes: The strength of her character

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In the Scarlet Letter, it is remarkable how Hawthorne shows Hester Prynne's strength of character. Although Hawthorne does not give us much information about Hester's life prior to the novel, he does show her great character which is revealed through the number of trials and obstacles she faced, her public humiliation and isolated Puritan life. Hester seems to have changed the greatest in character and attitude, from a haughty and proud demeanor to having a warm and tender heart. Throughout the novel, Hester changes three different times, from being a shamed woman to a capable and able woman and then to a healer. Her honesty, strong willed spirit and compassion may have been in her character all along, but the scarlet letter really brought it to the attention or others.

In the beginning of the novel, Hester is described as being a tall, slim beautiful girl with "long, dark abundant hair" (51).

She has a rich complexion, her eyes are dark and beautiful, and altogether is a gorgeous girl. Despite her outward appearance, she has a great personality as well. With her strong willed spirit and "wild and passionate heart" (Herzog 117), who can help but love her. Nevertheless, when Hester becomes imprisoned with a child, she is forced to become the mature mother that Pearl needs. When Hester is finally able to come home from prison, she emerges from the prison door, proud and beautiful wearing an embroidered scarlet letter "A" on her chest as she carries a three month old baby "'But Ah', Interposed more softly, a young wife holding the child 'let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will always be in her heart" (49). Her expression as she exited the prison did not seem to show any kind of regret.