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Scarlet Letter Essay, Research Paper

The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, Show me a hero and I ll write a tragedy. Nathaniel Hawthorne did exactly this in The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a chilling story of how one action could affect the entire life of someone and their family. He depicts the life of someone who is able to rise above of the shame brought to them but still be faced with the hardships that society imposes on them.

This person that has had the hardship brought upon them is Hester Prynne. Hester is the woman who wears the scarlet letter, a patch of fabric with a letter A embroidered on it. Before the novel opens, she had an affair and gave birth to a baby girl, Pearl. At the time of the affair she was married but she was under the impression that her husband had deceased when in reality he was just not in America, rather across the Atlantic in England.

Hester Prynne has to face unusual difficulty as a result of her affair. The story takes place in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century. The moral code of this establishment is much more harsh than that of today s standards. Adultery was a far more punishable crime and the person who committed such an unspeakable act was condemned for life by the people of the community. Hester was no longer considered as an equal and what friends she did have, began to disappear quickly.

Hester constantly struggles throughout the novel, not only with the other members of the Puritan community, but also with herself. She was in constant turmoil with herself on several issues. She would constantly debate is she should reveal the identity of the father, for she knows, if she does reveal him, that the man would be ruined because of his high status in society. Showing a tremendous amount of courage, Hester holds of in telling the townspeople what the want to know, the real identity of the father of Pearl. As Pearl begins to grow up, she is constantly asking Hester questions about the origin of the letter A that her mother is bound to wearing. Hester shows courage when dealing with the delicate matters of her child by protecting her, until she is old enough, from the brutal ness of the townspeople.

It is Hester s courage in face of disappointment and hardship throughout the novel that is amazing. She is faced with the constant conflicts with other people and herself. It is her courage that allows those conflicts with others and herself to be resolved. Although this takes quite some time, Hester s courage brings new hope for her and her child.


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