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The Scarlet Letter


by Nathaniel Hawthorne
 Hawthorne's " The Scarlet Letter" deals with many themes,
the most powerful being punishment. In this novel, Hester
Prynne becomes a highly respected person in a Puritan
society by overcoming one of the harshest punishments, the
scarlet letter. This object on "her bosom"; however, does
the exact opposite of that for which it was meant.
Eventually, Hester Prynne inverts all the odds against her,
because of her courage, pride and effort. Hester went
beyond the letter of the law and did everything asked of
her in order to prove that she is "able." 
Hester became quite a popular seamstress, admired
throughout the town of Boston for her work. She is modest
in everything that she does. Hester herself wears only poor
clothing while she embroiders marvelous works for the rest
of Boston. The only piece of clothing forbidden to create
was the wedding veil. How could a woman wearing the scarlet
letter create a dress that represents the values of
marriage; having committed sin as she did? The scarlet
letter was constantly worn by Hester with pride and
dignity. Hester knew that what was done in the past was
wrong and that the scarlet A was the right thing to do,
therefore it is worn with a sense of pride.
The child, Pearl, is "a blessing and acts as a reminder of
her sin." As if the scarlet A were not enough punishment
there "was a brat of that hellish breed" which would remind
Hester of what happened in the past. The "brat" could have
been given away to Governor Bellingham, yet Hester
proclaimed that Pearl "is my happiness!...Ye shall not take
her! I will die first!" Not a person in Boston, nor Hester
herself thought highly of the little child and Hester
refused to let Pearl go. Hester carried the kid around only
because it was a direct reflection of her sin. To cast away
her sin as freely as that by giving up the child, would be
unjust and unfair to Hester and Pearl. Hester therefore
decided that she would continually and proudly be near
Pearl. Hester would go against the grain in everything she
did. Very rarely did she ever give up hope; never did she
complete a job poorly. In the city of Boston "many people
refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original
signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was
Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength." By now the people
of Boston believe in Hester and accept her because Hester
is an arduous, productive worker in the puritan society.
The townspeople were reconsidering whether Hester was still
worthy of wearing the scarlet letter by the time Hester was
about to leave with Dimmesdale. The people of Boston
realized what a good job Hester had done wearing it and
what once was evil inside of Hester turned into good.
The fact that Hester committed adultery was soon forgotten
by the people around Hesters' everyday life. Yet another
meaning for the scarlet letter was brought about when a
meteorite appeared above Boston, a sexton thought it
represented the word "Angel" coming from above. What was
once an ignoble member of the puritan way of life became a
decorous woman. This turn in events was inevitable because
of Hester


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