Imagine yourself on display in front of your whole town, being punished for cheating on your husband or wife. Today adultery is looked down on, but in reality nobody makes a huge deal out of it. Sin can affect a person in many ways, but whether it’s good or bad only time can tell. In the old days, religion and law were looked at as one, and Hester Prynne just so happened to sin, which in turn caused her to break the law. In the novel, Hester displays that how a person deals with sin has a lasting impact on the people around her, and most importantly those that are the closest to her.
Hester was tall, with dark and abundant hair. She had deep black eyes. She had a beautiful face. She was lady-like, and characterized by a certain state of dignity. She had indescribable grace. She wore clothes that were the color of a dull, bland gray color, and on her bosom lay a fantastically embroidered letter “A” that was the shade of scarlet with gold stitching.
Hester is a brave woman. She had the courage to stand up on the platform with her little baby, and face all the people of the colony. She put on a straight face and took her punishment. She held her head high and never let anyone affect her or Pearl. She was a contradiction to the Puritans’ “Utopia”. Her caring and love for her daughter made her wonder if her child was truly evil or not. She was faced to raise her estranged daughter alone, and sleeping was truly the only time she could feel at peace with herself.
As time goes by, Hester is faced with many burdens and challenges, but she takes them all on. Even when she was in need of help, she instead helped others that were in need. At this, her scarlet letter becomes symbol of respect instead of shame, and it shows that she’s a strong woman. By dealing with the “A” and helping others, she is shown that she’s not the only one who needs to be ashamed of what she’s done, she’s just one of the only ones who have the face everyone else’s criticism.
When she’s not out helping people, she’s at home with her beloved treasure, her daughter Pearl. Pearl is a major burden to Hester, but nonetheless, she loves her with all her heart and she’s trying to understand her child’s ways. Pearl is often accused of being a witch child, but Hester tries her best not to believe it. Hester does her best to be there for her daughter, even when she was faced with her own burdens. Even though she’s been through so much in her, Hester gives out all her love whenever she can. That proves that she’s become a pure and loyal person.
Towards the end of the novel, Hester gets the break in life she’s been waiting for. She put up with seven years of shame and guilt, to finally be the person she used to be. Her rekindled love with Arthur makes her happy again, and everything just seems right for them. She’s filled with hope that her life will finally turn back to normal again. She feels redeemed, and the guilt is no longer on her shoulders. She’s now ready to take on the world, and start her life over to the way it was before the “A” entered her life. Having the courage to show her face in the colony again is just a sign of her bravery.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s purpose for Hester Prynne is to show that even when the weight of sin and guilt is bearing down on your shoulders, just put it all behind you and do whatever you can to live a normal life. Hester lived the most normal life she could manage, yet she walked around the colony a living testimony. She was the contradiction in the so called “perfect” world the Puritans created. They told her that she was useless to the society basically. They tried to take her daughter from her. The women said they would kill her if it was up to them. The fact that she didn’t let that get to her shows how strong she is. She was criticized for something that was taken way out of proportion, and the colonist learned to respect her.
It is seen that Hester’s bravery, courageousness, and compassion led her to a life she never would of thought living. From being just a regular colonist, to becoming a sort of icon, Hester’s character shows that, whether it’s good or bad, you can handle whatever life throws at you. From being known as a sinner, to becoming a well respected saint, Hester Prynne proves that sin can affect a person both negatively and positively, and sometimes you just have to face the world and take life one day at a time to show that whatever gets thrown at you, you can handle it.