"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester Prynne, through the eyes
of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways,
committing adultery. For this irrevocably harsh sin, she must wear a symbol
of shame for the rest of her life. However, the Romantic philosophies of
Hawthorne put down the Puritanic beliefs. She is a beautiful, young woman who
has sinned, but is forgiven. Hawthorne portrays Hester as "divine maternity"
and she can do no wrong. Not only Hester, but the physical scarlet letter, a
Puritanical sign of disownment, is shown through the author's tone and diction
as a beautiful, gold and colorful piece.
From the beginning, we see that Hester Prynne is a young and beautiful woman
who has brought a child into the world with an unknown father. She is
punished by Puritan society by wearing the scarlet letter A on the bosom of
her dress and standing on the scaffold for three hours. Her hair is a glossy
brown and her eyes deep-set, and black, her attire is rich, carefully
caressing her slender figure. The scaffold is a painful task to bear; the
townspeople gathered around to gossip and stare at Hester and her newborn
child, whom she suitably named Pearl, named because of her extreme value to
her mother. In the disorder of faces in the crowd, young Hester Prynne sees
the face of a man she once was fiercely familiar with, whom we later learn is
her true husband, Roger Chillingworth. Her subjection to the crowd of Puritan
onlookers is excruciating to bear, and Hester holds the child to her heart, a
symbolic comparison between the child and the scarlet letter, implying that
they are truly both intertwined.
Prynne is imprisoned with her child, both of whom are emotionally and
physically exhausted from the punishment at the scaffold. The husband, Roger
Chillingworth, passes by and is commissioned to be the physician to the two,
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