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Hesterâ€"The Heroine Essay

2208 words - 9 pages

Hester"”the Heroine The heroine in the Scarlet Letter is Hester Prynne. Even though Hester sins against God, she is a woman who survives the horrendous trials of a "Puritan" society"”the society that wants to be a Utopia among imperfect people. From her horrendous trials, Hester gains strength, courage, and her lost love. The story begins when Hester appears from the darkness of a rusted jail cell into the stale, damp summer morning. In her arms, she cradles the product of her sin"”Pearl. Hester Prynne is a woman accused of committing adultery. Adultery is considered a grave sin among a Puritan society"”Utopia. Since Hester sinned against God, the magistrates"”judges, decide to condemn Hester from paradise (Carpenter, 285). This means that Hester would not be considered a Puritan. On the other hand, Hester does not care about the judgement of the magistrates. Instead, she knows that God will judge her. As a sign of her sin, the magistrates use the letter A as a living sermon against sin (Carabine, 157). They know that this letter will suppress Hester's rebellious passion because it threatens their civil system (Bell, 152). The scarlet letter A does not serve its purpose, and it does not suppress Hester from the Puritan society. The first thing Hester does is that she enlarges the letter A for everyone to see on her bosom. Instead of making the "A" a simple letter, she embroiders the letter with intricate designs of gold. The townspeople are in awe. They have never seen needlework done in that fashion. The scarlet letter is like an illumination of light that glows like a flashlight for the solemn society of New England. When you think of a flashlight shining against darkness, it is very narrow. The narrow perception of light represents the narrow-minded Puritans. Barber 2 Hester wants to show the scarlet letter, light, to everyone. By doing this, she wants to let people know that all people sin. Hawthorne said, ""¦if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom besides Hester Prynne"¦."(Scarlet Letter, 78). A man by the name of Randall Stewart from the Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism has this to say about the scarlet letter: Hester is a romantic heroine, a splendid one. She has been much admired, and justifiably. The richly embroidered A has been called by one of her modern admirers "the red badge of courage." (298) Hester surely shows courage, especially during the first scaffold scene. For three long hours, Hester does not succumb to the mockery and persecution of the people. The magistrates can not kill her because they are not certain if Hester's husband is still alive. The magistrates finally get tired of waiting for Hester's confession. Therefore,...

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