"Strength in the Face of Suffering" - The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Essay about how suffering and the burden of wearing the "A", changed Hester's life.

Essay by aliaqaHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2002

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

It is often said that pain and suffering can strengthen the character and spirit of a person many times beyond the regular growth of the human soul. This is very true of Hester Prynn, a young and lonely woman, who is convicted of the unforgivable sin of adultery; which is magnified many, many times more because of the time and society in which she lives. Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, is the story of a young mother, Hester, who is required by the strict laws of her society to wear a scarlet letter upon her bosom, which identifies her as an adulteress.

Hester's enormous sin, unforgivable in her time but perhaps excusable in ours, places her in a position of suffering and makes her an outcast of the devout and morally rigid Puritan society, which she lives in. Hester, being forced to live her life as an outcast and refugee, learns to become self-sufficient and to rely on no one, other than herself and occasionally her daughter, Pearl.

Throughout the book, Hester's place in society is constantly changing. At the beginning, Hester is an outsider, but as the story goes on, the meaning of the A on her chest changes; from Adulteress to Able. Hester's sin and the A are the reasons for her becoming a stronger person, and yet, it is her strength which leads to her eventually being regarded in a different light in the eyes of society and the people who form it. In a way, it can be said that sinning can lead to strength, which can ultimately lead to admiration in the eyes of others.

In the beginning of the book, Hester is scorned by the community. So that her sin is made public, Hester and the fruit of her sin, Pearl, are...