Each person has strengths and weaknesses. A weakness is truly exploited when a person who needs help refuses it. The idea of “I do not need anyone’s help” only blindly hurts them since they refuse the assistance of someone who can support them. The character development between Hester and Dimmesdale shows Dimmesdale’s need of aid. As seen through the characters of Hester and Dimmesdale, the strength needed to carry on in life can come from the encouragement and example of others.
Hester’s inner strength is shown through her physical characteristics. She is a tall woman compared to some of the other women of her time (Hawthorne 37). It also states she is very woman like and the people were assuming prison would take her beauty from her. Instead, they were startled to see her beauty shining out, despite her old, worn, prison clothes (Hawthorne 37). Hester also has a talent for sewing, and uses that talent to make the scarlet letter on her chest a beautiful sight. Hawthorne says it is “so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom” (Hawthorne 37). She turned what was supposed to be a punishment, into an accessory.
Hester’s description given to the reader by Hawthorne represents her character throughout the book. Her height is the first thing given. Her height represents her position in society given to her in Chapter 13 after 7 years have passed. She may have started out on a lower level than everyone else, but she earned the respect of the people. Despite her circumstance, people did not look down on her. Although Hester did not feel accepted, people still loved her sewing (North Shore Community College). Her beauty after stepping out of the prison represents how everyone will look at her after all of it was over. Even though she will still wear the same “old, worn out” clothes, they will see her true nature. The embroidered “A” shows her boldness and courage to face what has been thrown at her. What was meant as punishment was recognized by everyone as beauty. Hester’s perseverance continues to serve her well because she never gives up on Pearl or Dimmesdale, regardless of the problems she had to face on her own.
An example is given to us of people who do not like Hester before she is introduced. A fifty year-old woman says, “If the hussy stood up for judgment before us five…would she come off with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded? Marry I trow not!” (Hawthorne 35). Her first trial of facing others is on the scaffold scene. She must endure public scrutiny from everyone as part of her punishment for adultery (North Shore Community College). Hester was ready for their criticism. She had been preparing and strengthening herself mentally for their judgments. “…[S]he had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely…” (Hawthorne 40). Hester can feel the weight of everyone’s stares while she is on the scaffold. There is a time when she wishes she can just scream out, like...