To Characterize a Character

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 2 (768 words) Published: February 21, 2002
To Characterize a Character

Character is the combination of qualities and features that distinguish a person, group, or thing from others. The wise Benjamin Disraeli once said, "Characters do no change. Opinions alter, but characters are only developed." This statement is worth acknowledging, however, I disagree. Characters are an essential part of any literary piece, and in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, I have observed several characters alter and change. Of course, Disraeli is referring to the character within a person and I am referring to characters (or imaginary people) in a novel, but they do have a relation. What would a novel's character be without an inner character, or personality? Drastic alterations of character occur in both Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth. But who, in reference to my statement of what character is, has more of it?

Hester Prynne is the social outcast of the Puritan village due to her sin of committing adultery. She wears a large letter "A" on her bosom and is constantly put to shame by it. The townspeople (including children) openly mock her as she walks about. But even so, Hester endures it and has gained great strength from it. Though she is an outcast, she works hard and continues to keep herself and her daughter, Pearl, alive and well. Hester achieves survival through sewing. She has, "…bore on her breast, in the curiously embroidered letter, a specimen of her delicate and imaginative skills…" (Page 56). She even sews clothing for the homeless, but they are ungrateful for it. Because of her ability to stay alive, and help the needy even though nobody ever helped her, some referred to the letter "A" on her chest as "Able."

Roger Chillingworth, who is secretly the husband of Hester Prynne, has a great amount of character, also. He arrives in town and decides to stay upon his promise to discover the father of Hester's child. He serves as a physician knowing several...
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