The Scarlet Letter: Significance of Hester Prynne

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne reveals that although society attempts to confine people, those with inner strength are able to break free of their restrictive labels. Even though the public shunned Hester and forced her into solitude, she still, at the end of her “term of confinement”, found a way to overcome societys stereotypes.
Hester’s inner strength allowed her to rise above the negative connotations of the scarlet letter, and now viewed the symbol as a representation of sacredness, which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril” (112). She, through her determination and toughness, turned the scarlet letter from a marking of shame into a symbol of charity and ability by also dedicating herself to being kind to her community.
Hester’s generosity towards the people that shunned her despite their negative opinions regarding her “sinful” actions is representative of her ability to defy the stereotype that society has given her. Hester is now known to society as a woman “who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted” (1 12). She assumed a “freedom of speculation”, allowing her to view the once burning symbol on her chest as a symbol of which she could be proud.

Hester’s mental toughness and boldness was compared to that of “men of the sword overthrowing nobles and kings” (1 14), as she was fiercely determined to reconstruct the image denoted by the scarlet letter. By overcoming the restrictions society tries to place on her, such as solitary confinement and banishment, she allows herself to emerge an admirable public fgure. Society now ceases to uphold a negative representation of Hester. Furthermore, Hester’s mental strength allowed her to aintain the idea that “the world’s law was no law for her mind [114]. In other words, she believes that the stereotypes and labels that society puts on people are never permanent, and is a symbol of how an image can be augmented if one possesses the will and mental toughness. Hester could have simply accept the label society has put on her, but instead through this mindset she found the strength to overcome her derogatory reputation that was bestowed upon her and turned it into one in which she could be confident. The Scarlet Letter: Significance of Hester Prynne By mnunziante

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