The Scarlet Letter-Analysis of Hester

Category: The Scarlet Letter
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
Essay type: Analysis
Pages: 3 Views: 101
The title of Chapter 13 is "Another view of Hester". This chapter is a discussion of Hester's personality, intellect and character as well as an update of several years she had been passing through. “Another view” in the title refers to both the changing perception of the Puritan society toward Hester and also the description of her which narrator told. Hester's position in the eyes of the Puritan community has considerably changed due to her kindness and charity. She has borne her shame and sorrow with great dignity.

The town describes her now as one "who is so kind to the poor, helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted! " Hester has become very active in society. She brings food to the poor; she takes care of the sick. Now the scarlet letter has magical qualities, and myths are growing around its power, more people are beginning to interpret the “A” on her chest as meaning “Able” rather than “Adulterer. ”. But this new definition of Hester Prynne is not without a price.

Her luxuriant beauty, and the warmth, charm, and passion that she once showed have been replaced by coldness, severity, and drabness. There is no affection, love, or passion in her life. Her humanity has been stripped from her by the severity of her punishment, and her charity and benevolence seem mechanical. “Some attribute had departed from her, the permanence of which had been essential to keep her a woman. ”(160) It reveals that Hester had been afflicted with a conscience, and the letter “A” is whipping her heart all the time to remind the sin as well as confining Hester’s in an invisible jail.

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But this jail never confined her thought; actually it became a single space for Hester. Burning by the “red-hot brand” of the letter, Hester has become “a bare and harsh outline” of her former self. She has become more speculative, thinking about how something is “amiss” in Pearl. Her life, having “changed from passion and feeling to thought... she assumed a freedom of speculation... which, had they known it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatized by the scarlet letter. (161)

The narrator speculates that, had it not been for her responsibilities to little Pearl, Hester “might have come down to us in history, hand in hand with Anne Hutchinson, as the foundress of a religious sect”(161) and quite probably would have been executed for “attempting to undermine the foundations of the Puritan establishment. ”(161) To some extent, these changes on Hester were all due to the scarlet letter which has effectively humbled her as planned. In reality “The scarlet letter had not done its office. ”(163)The scarlet letter has not led her to contemplate her sin and possible salvation.

Rather, it has led her to unholy speculations, thoughts of suicide and ruminations about the unfair of women. In fact, Hester’s feminist thinking has led her to realize that she needn’t to accept or pay attention to the town’s opinion of her at all—Some believe that her punishment is sufficient and that she should no longer wear the scarlet letter. But she refused to flee Boston when Pearl was an infant because at the time she did not believe that her fellow men and women should have the power to judge her. Now, Hester refuses to remove the scarlet letter—she understands that its removal would be as meaningless as its original placement.

It’s her redemption, identity and, she believes, her soul’s salvation are matters that are between her and God. To put chapter 13 here seems unreasonable, however it’s an important turning point of the story. From here on, Hawthorne revealed a lot of Hester’s insight, and told the reason that affects her actions in the future. It makes sense that why Hester talks to Dimmesdale in the forest and decide to run away with him. It refers that Hester Prynne changes from a shameful scared woman, to one that is able and not afraid of what the future has to hold.

For seven years, Hester is shrouded in the shadow of the scarlet letter and is weighed down with the burden of guilt and humiliation over her sin and over the public nature of her punishment. If Hawthorne delete this chapter or move it into someplace else, it will be hard for readers to understand and anticipate the following plots. This chapter seems very single, lonely in this book, but it has an effect of connecting episodes, and as well reveals that the scarlet letter the possibility, though faint, is still there.

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The Scarlet Letter-Analysis of Hester. (2017, Apr 02). Retrieved from

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