The Role of Hester Pryne in The Scarlet Letter
The Role of Hester Prynne in the Development of Plot
and Characterization in the Novel, The Scarlet Letter
Within the novel The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many ways to characterize Hester Prynne, and to show her importance in the development of the plot. This essay will show some ways Hester is characterized and will also show why and how she develops the plot.
Hester Prynne is characterized as a beautiful woman who does not hide from, but lives with her mistakes and tries to lead the best life she can in a strict, Puritan society. Two main ways are used to characterize Hester Prynne; through dialogue, and narrative descriptions. Dialogue is used to show what others think and what Hester thinks, to show what kind of person she is, or is seen, to be.
“‘At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead. Madam Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she,-- the naughty baggage, --little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown! Why, look you, she may cover it with a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever!’” (Hawthorne 49).
This quote from a townswoman tells the reader what Hester is like, she must wear the scarlet letter, but she wears it with bravery. Hawthorne uses dialogue to explain what characters strengths and weaknesses are. This quote tells the reader that Hester Prynne is very good at sowing; “‘She hath good skill at her needle, that’s certain,’” (51). Hawthorne uses many quotes to describe Hester; to show her values by what she teaches her daughter Pearl, to describe her predicament with the Reverend , and to show what others think of her.
Narrative descriptions by the author is the most used way Hester is described in this novel, and also tell the most about her. Most of the story is written in the narrative point of view, so therefore, most of the information obtained is given to the reader from this point of view.
“The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes.” (50)
This quote shows how the narrator can describe Hester. The narrator can tell the reader what a character looks...