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Hester Prynne vs. Scociety

Hester Prynne, the Scarlet Letter’s protagonist is a huge sinner and adulteress. Throughout the novel, she must carry the weight of her sin by wearing the letter “A” on her chest. As a result of this letter, the town’s people looked down on her, and think of her as a wretched, and arrogant woman. The people believed that the magistrates were too merciful on her, and thought that, a woman so wicked and scandalous as she should suffer a more severe punishment than the one enforced on her. The women gossiping outside the jailhouse concurred that Hester, “had brought shame upon [them] all, and ought to die”(Hawthorne 60). When Hester walked out onto the scaffold, she was cast wicked glances from her fellow town members. They glared at the letter on her breast and stared at the illegitimate child in her arms. This public shame was not severe enough punishment for this wretched woman, in the eyes of the town folk. Any other form of torture or penalty would not have been too harsh in the eyes of the community, for this woman was a huge sinner, and deserved the worst sentence possible.

After Hester had served her jail time, she was released. After being released, she took her child with her and lived in a cottage on the outskirts of town, becoming isolated from her community. In order to support both herself and her child, she took up the craft of needlework. Her work is beautiful and fit for the governor was required for making christening gowns, and the robes of high officials. Hester Prynne’s needlework was a chance for repentance; she made garments for the poor, and reached out to society and contributed however she could. Never the less, the people still shunned her, refused to acknowledge her existence and the wage of her sin. To the people of the town, Hester was “like a ghost that revisits the familiar fireside and can no longer make itself seen or felt”(Hawthorne 98). They ignored her when she passed because they were disgusted to be around her. In the eyes of the town, Hester was invisible.

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Although the town was cold and alienated her, Hester, as remorse for her sin remained submissive and selfless to the public. She helped out those who needed her and became known as a “Sister Of Mercy”(Hawthorne 192). As the years progressed, people began to notice her selfless and helpful deeds; people of the town began to see Hester through another perspective. Many people in town refused to infer the Scarlet Letter by its original meaning, instead, they said the letter meant able. Hester Prynne was strong and able to help out in her community; she was a powerful and able woman.

After many years, Hester still continued her ways, remaining selfless and kind toward her community. As a result “ the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness and became a type of something to be sorrowed over”(Hawthorne 315). The people saw through her deeds and found her to be a compassionate woman. Thus, many people, especially woman came to her for solace; they came to her and complained of how wretched and sinful they were, and repented, for Hester too, had carried the weight of her huge sin for so many years, and could consul they give them guidance and comfort them.

She remained at the site of her sin until her death, comforting and giving guidance to other members of the town. Although, there was a period in Hester’s life where the town was disgusted by her, and ignored her, her deep acts of remorse and repentance changed the views of the town. During the last years of her life, Hester Prynne served as a prophetess, consoling, and telling her town members about her beliefs of heaven. The wage of her sin was long forgotten, and the letter no longer stood for an adulteress. Instead, it was the symbol of an “angel or apostle of the coming revelation”(Hawthorne 315).

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