The Scarlet Letter


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 which it was meant for. 
Eventually, Hester Prynne inverts all the odds against here due to her 
courage, pride and effort. Hester went beyond the letter of the law 
and did everything asked of here in order to prove that she is "able."

 Hester became quite a popular seamstress, admired all over the 
town of Boston for her work. Hester 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 vail. How could a woman wearing 
the scarlet letter create a dress that represents the values of 
marriage; having committed sin as she did to be involved in the 
marital bonds of another couple. Although she does the job willingly 
and rarely ever looks back to the horrid past behind. 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, therefor it is worn with a sense of pride.

 The child, Pearl, is "a blessing and 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 and to cast away here sin as freely as that to give it away 
would be unjust and unfair to Hester and Pearl. From now on Hester 
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 


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