Power Of Two And A Half Women In Nathaniel Hawthrone´S The Scarlet Letter

754 words - 4 pages

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, women are portrayed as strong-minded people who are fearless when it comes to transcending limits set by the Puritan community. Neither of the three main women featured in the book seem to conform to the social norms. They each have their own unique abnormalities such as adultery, devilish attributes, and witchcraft.
To begin with, there is Hester Prynne, the adulterer, whose strong-minded nature causes her to take initiative of covering up for her child’s father, Dimmesdale. When asked to reveal the father’s name she says, “I will not speak! And my child must seek a heavenly father; she shall never know an earthly one!”(47). This shows her determination to stand alone despite the opinion of other women in the town. She is willing to support herself and Pearl alone without the help of Dimmesdale and this symbolizes her character even more. In doing so, she uses her strength and involves herself in needlework and charity. The narrator states that “The letter was a symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her,-so much power to do, and power to sympathize,-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne with a woman’s strength”(111). In other words, Hester’s work helps the community, influences the people’s opinion, and further showcases her strength as a strong-minded woman.
Second there is Hester’s daughter Pearl, whose strong-minded character also comes in handy. Pearl is depicted as the weird devilish child who spends a lot of time by herself because her mother has sinned. She loves to play alone in the forest; “The unlikeliest materials, a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower, were the puppets of Pearl’s witchcraft…”(65). Here, Hawthorne shows us how firm Pearl is and even when the other kids refuse to play with her, she develops a vivid imagination and makes playmates out of inanimate objects. Furthermore, Pearl acts as Hester’s reminder of her sin throughout the story. She continuously questions Hester about the scarlet letter and remains persistent unless her mother gives her...

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