Scarlet Letter Essay

1936 words - 8 pages

Patrick AngeloMamigonian, Period 5October 16, 2012AngeloA Complex View of Hester PrynneEven though one may not see a narrator as having such an important role in a novel, the narrator's thoughts and ideas permeate into a reader's understanding of The Scarlet Letter. Hester's sin of adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale is a major focus point in which the narrator's viewpoints of Hester for this crime change greatly during the course of Hester's life. Originally, the narrator approves of Hester's decision to take her sin head on by directly putting herself though public shame and making it her passion to repent. However, as her passion fades away and she second guesses herself for these actions, the narrator disapproves. Nevertheless, by the end of Hester's journey, the narrator comes to a realization that her adultery "had a consecration of its own" (178) and accepts her choice to commit this sin. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne's narrator in The Scarlet Letter (1850) initially admires Hester for her passion to become a martyr for her sin and then disapproves of her thoughts to change this passion, he ultimately accepts and understands Hester's choice to commit adultery as the direct result of love.Due to Hester's full recognition and acceptance of her sin and punishment, the narrator admires her. The narrator's admiration stems out of his respect and approval of Hester's choice to endure the public ignominy as penance for her sin. As a result of high public ignominy, the narrator would assume that Hester should choose to leave Boston: "where the wildness of her nature might assimilate itself with a people whose customs and life were alien from the law that had condemned her,-it may seem marvelous, that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame" (71). One with such great opprobrium might choose to leave the place of his or her sin in order to escape the reminders of it in a place where the society does not believe adultery as such a consequential sin as the society in Boston; however, the narrator deems Hester's choice to continue living her life in that town as an act that is marvelous because she is keeping herself in a public spotlight of shame. The narrator acknowledges Hester's wild nature and understands that residing in the place of sin is a way in which Hester is actively choosing to fully accept her adultery. Not only does Hester live in this town where everyone views her as the symbol of wrongdoing, but she also calls it her home. A home is a place where one permanently resides; Hester's permanent residence is one filled with only one thing: adultery. Hester fully accepts her punishment by neither running away from it nor trying to forget it, but instead embraces it by staying within the limits of the town that knows well of her sin and is determined to remind her of that crime at every possible opportunity. The narrator believes this is a marvelous thing for Hester to do since...

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