The Scarlet Letter

The Redemption of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne accepts that she has sinned and realizes that she must pay the price for her crime. In doing so she becomes overwhelmed with courage and conviction and assumes a redemption that is denied to most of her fellow townspeople. For a woman who possesses Hester's strength of character, the route toward the wilderness of escape would also be a route toward the wilderness of admitting that those who judge her are her superiors. Hester Prynne's strength of character as well as her willingness to accept her fate prove to be valuable qualities necessary to succeed in an environment of conformity.

Hester comprehends that she must compensate for her offense, but her deeds reveal a veiled disobedience. Although Hester herself is not allowed to dress in anything but drab clothing with the only spot of light being her bright red letter, she rebels by dressing her daughter Pearl in gaily colored clothes that express a "wild, desperate, defiant mood" (66). A similar example of Hester's silent rebellion and steely independence is showcased in the form of her behavior when she leaves prison; her audacity compares favorably to the rather gloomy assemblage she...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 703 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 3920 literature essays, 1340 sample college application essays, 155 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in