The Scarlet Letter: Hester Prynnes Choices

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The Scarlet Letter
Alienation can be linked to self-discovery. The alienated can make a choice: to endure or to protest. Explain the choices made by Hester Prynne and how they are typical or atypical based on the societal values during this time period (1640s).

Hester Prynne has made many tough decisions throughout the novel. Most, if not all, of her choices were atypical for women during this time period. One of Hester’s most prominent decisions was to stay in town when she knows that her and her child, Pearl, will be shunned. Townspeople were shocked at her decision to continue living in the village in which the crime was committed. The majority of women back then would have probably hid themselves in shame and ran away to another village. Hester, on the other hand, wanted to stay in the town which she called home. Hester also feels that she is attached to Pearl’s father, Reverend Dimmesdale, who continues to live in Boston. Another reason she chooses to stay is because she feels that the people of the town want her to leave their village. She wants to show them that they cannot and will not rule the course of her life and stays. Hester does not want to live a life of lies so she figures that she might as well deal with the consequences. Most women in that time period would have lived the rest of their lives in solitude and shame; leading a miserable life. Hester may not have been happy all the time, but she was not miserable. She endured the pain of the scarlet letter and tried not to let it affect her life.

Another choice that Hester has made is the choice to keep Chillingworth’s identity a secret. When Chillingworth approaches Hester Prynne in her jail cell, he makes Hester promise that she will not tell anyone of his relation to Hester. She chooses to keep her husbands identity a secret. Hester also chooses to keep Reverend Dimmedale’s sin a secret. She does not tell anyone that Dimmesdale committed the adultery sin along with her. Many women in...
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