"The Scarlet Letter"

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 1996

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Chapter II (pg. 59, 60, 64)

The Unavoidable Truth

The isolation and courage that Hester Pryne felt when she walked to the scaffold to face reality brought out my deepest sympathy and respect for her. Hester, followed by a crowd of 'stern-browed men,' 'unkindly visaged women,' and 'curious school boys,' begins the walk from the jail to the scaffold. She seems to be proud and dignified. However, internally, she feels great agony, for she was scorned and mocked by the accusing Puritans. She finally arrives at the scaffold, displaying the two results of her adultery; the scarlet letter and her child, Pearl. In order to escape her isolation, Hester goes into her inner soul and into the past. In Hester's 'dusky mirror' of imagination, she remembers her old home in England, her mother, her father, and most of all, her own youthful face. Then, she thinks of the marital life with her husband, a 'tuft of green moss on a crumbling wall'.

The 'green moss' symbolizes Hester's youth, which was clinging onto the 'crumbling wall', which represents her aged husband. She tries to loser herself in past memories, but reality rears its ugly head. A few moments later, her mind jumps back to reality. In astonishment, she clutches the child and places her finger on the scarlet letter. This shows that reality is unavoidable, even though we try to escape from it sometimes.

This courageous journey to reality won my admiration and understanding. When I was eight years old, I distinctly remember the time when our family celebrated the Chinese New Year. Since I was still young and didn't have much manners, I had to sit alone on a separate table. The more I saw the adults enjoying themselves, the more furious I got. However,