The Evolution of the Scarlet Letter
At what point in time can one truly forgive themselves for a sin they have committed? A week? A month? A year? And what about peers? When do they start forgiving for a sin? Throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne learns answers to such questions after it is learned she in an adulteress. Hester’s scarlet letter serves as a reminder to herself and her peers of the sins she has committed, and there is a true evolution from the beginning to the end of the story of the views of not only the letter but the person wearing it from Hester herself, the villagers, Pearl, and the author. Throughout the story, the reader can clearly identify the contrast of Hester’s views of her scarlet letter from the beginning of the book to the end. The defiance and ignorance of Hester is clearly visible when Hester is being questioned on the pedestal by Reverend Mr. Wilson. “Speak out thy name! That, and thy repentance, may avail to take the scarlet letter off thy breast. …Never! It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!” (47). This dialogue between Reverend Mr. Wilson and Hester clearly defines Hester’s thoughts and feelings towards her sin at the beginning of the book. It exposes Hester’s lack of self-acceptance of her adultery crime when she refuses to give out the name of the father of the baby. Further into the book, it is established Hester is a different woman who slowly defines herself as a sinner but an acceptor of her sin. After several years have passed since her sin, Hester is separated from the community but becomes very important to it with her needle work. She slowly morphs into a kind, helping community member who helps the less fortunate. All in all, Hester is a more confident and accepting person of herself and her life through the beginning of the book to the end. As it did for herself, it takes the villagers of Puritan Boston...
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