Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"

Categories: Romance

A review of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", focussing on the character, Hester.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl are isolated from society; this is shown by where they live, the action from people toward Pearl and Pearl's reaction, and finally the response of the community toward Hester's scarlet letter. Hester and Pearl are isolated by living so far out as they do. Pearl shows signs that she is brought up without a friend in the world but her mother.

The response toward Hester's scarlet letter from the town's people show how she is isolated. Hester and Pearl are isolated from everything in the world but each other. Hester's new home is the biggest factor in saying that they are isolated from the world. Hester finds an abandoned cottage on the outskirts of town, within verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation (Hawthorne 77). Hester must ask the magistrates if she can live in the abandoned cottage (Hawthorne 78).

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Hester tells the magistrates that she is going to stay in town, since it reminds her of her sin and in that way punishes her(Hawthorne 78). This house was far enough from civilization that Hester and Pearl did not have a friend in the world besides each other. Pearl, is a descendent both of sweet children who fashioned a play maiden out of snow and of the friend's infants who stoned the gentle boy(Van Doren 130). Pearl causes several disturbances to Hester throughout the novel.

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Governor Belligham plans to take away the child, if it was not for Dimmesdale Pearl may have left her mother's arms(Hawthorne 109). All that Pearl and Hester had were each other(Hawthorne 85). Hester Prynne is constantly pointed out for her sin, because of the scarlet letter she is forced to wear. Hester, whose solitary thought takes her far beyond the confines of the code, she is not the subject of a sermon; she is the heroin of a tragedy and understands the tragedy(Van Doren 132). After Hester settled in to her life she had to get a job, so she sewed. People looked upon Hester's sin rather than Hester's ability to sew, in that she was not allowed to sew on bride's dresses(Hawthorne 79). Hester was pointed out as a flaw in the society which she was not even a part of. Hester and her daughter live a life isolated from the world. They depend only on each other. Society immediately isolated them because of Hester's sin. There is no solution in life for Hester's sin. There was no other solution for Hawthorne's story, given Hester's strength, Dimmesdale's weakness, and Chillingworth's perversion, than the one found(Van Doren 132).

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter". (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" essay
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