Have you ever made a terrible mistake and no matter how much you tried to fix it you can’t stop getting it from following you in life? In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthrone, the main character Hester Prynne knows how you feel. Hester is a beautiful young woman who was caught committing adultery when found out she was pregnant with a baby girl. The townspeople had many punishments in store for her but all agreed to force her to wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom was the right fit. She calmly accepted her punishment and now has to live her life constantly reminded of her sin. Throughout the novel, Hester was humiliated and treated horribly with no respect. But no matter the negative outputs she redeems herself by being a good mother to Pearl by keeping her out of her dark past, she helps and supports the community without holding a grudge; therefore she turned the hardest moments in her life into a lesson and should be forgiven because everyone deserves a second chance.
Hester never planned or expected to be a mother. She was frightened for the baby’s future and how they would both manage in this town. Times were very rough and many hard decisions had to be made. She would constantly be suffering and couldn’t see any hope in the times ahead. Then one day a horrible thought came ‘At times, a fearful doubt strove to possess her soul, whether it was not better to send Pearl at once to heaven, and go herself to such futurity as Eternal Justice should provide (157). Hester was ready to kill herself and murder the little girl. She wanted to give everything up and let go. The people of the town have gotten to her. This means at the moment Hester didn’t understand her fate. Although this may make her look like an awful mother she realized that ‘There was more real-life for Hester Prynne here, in New England than in that unknown region where Pearl had found a home. Here had been her sin; here, her sorrow; and here was yet to be her penitence. Never afterward did it quit her bosom. But . . . 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, and looked upon with awe, and yet with reverence, too’ (248). The scarlet letter will forever be part of Hester’s identity, but it becomes a symbol of redemption and individuality, not sin, and it teaches her to overcome any difficulties. This town was meant for them and Hester has thought that quite through. She started to believe that there is hope to overcome any challenges thrown at her even in her circumstances. Hester shows progress, strength, and the desire to keep moving forward and prove to others that she is like everybody else who sins. She put negativity last and Pearl first!
People of the town would make sure that Hester would feel the pain of her sin every single day. But that wouldn’t discourage or break her. As a person, she is very kind, humble, and has the right mindset. She helped the poor, the sick, she provided them with food, although they did not show any gratitude towards her. This can be explained when the author states, ‘Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and power to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet ‘A’ by its original signification” (156). It was supposed to weakened Hester, but instead had given her a new ability. Furthermore, she became a counselor to the women in her town, offering them guidance and advice. It took her a long time to get here but it brought out generosity that was hidden in her heart. This also affected the strangers coming into town. ‘Even the Indians were affected by sort of cold shadow of the white man’s curiosity, and, gliding through the crowd, fastened their snake-like black eyes on Hester’s bosom, conceiving, perhaps, that the wearer of this brilliantly embroidered badge must need to be a personage of high dignity among her people(230). Her actions and the way she carried herself around people shocked them because the first thing they would do is the judge. The scarlet letter upon Hester Prynne’s bosom had come to be recognized as a symbol of high status. She felt proud to be known and had high self-esteem. Throughout all the pain she kept her chin up and made sure she got the recognition and respect she deserved. One mistake does not define who you are.
Slowly but shortly the community started coming together and accepting Hester. After years of torment, mortification, name-calling, she had finally found a way to reach the hate against her. A great example of this is when the narrator says how the Puritans ‘were none the less inclined to pronounce the child a demon offspring…”(188). The people realized that Hester has paid her dues by wearing her letter without protest for many years and has largely stayed clear of the public eye. Adding on, she would never back talk or try to defend herself while getting horrible treatment. This made it easier for people to pardon her and feel bad for their selfish behavior. The author stated “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpless was found in her- so much power to do and power to sympathize- that many people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original signification. They said that it meant “Able”; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (156). Hester did an inexcusable sin at that time and was punished for it. However, she redeemed herself and was forgiven by the town and God for the kind acts she did throughout the town.
Hester Prynne would put herself last in every situation even if it was less convenient, her daughter, her community, and even the people who made her feel at her lowest point; she wouldn’t give in to their harsh words and used the punishment to better herself. She cared for Pearl and proved herself as a mother. Even after multiple attempts to redeem herself she never failed to try and remained strong. She completely turned the whole town around and made people see and think in her shoes. Many, especially women started to look up to her. Hester managed to go through something not even I believe I could do. Therefore, she earns the respect and forgiveness because she learned from it and taught others.
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