The Scarlet Letter: Hester's Attitudes



Throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The Scarlet Letter, Hester's
attitudes toward her adultery are ambivalent. This ambivalence is shown by
breaking the book into three different parts. In each part her attitudes
change significantly.
Hester starts by seeing her act as a sin that she is sorry for
committing. She changes and no longer feels sorry for the sin. Finally,
Hester sees the act as not sinful, but she regrets committing it.
In the first part, covering the first six chapters, Hester thinks
of her action as a sin. In chapter four she tells her husband that it was
her fault for committing adultery when she says, "I have greatly wronged
thee" (79). In chapter six ...

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not restrict her to the limits of the Puritan settlement, Hester could
return to Europe to start over. She decides to stay because she makes
herself believe that the town "has been the scene of her guilt, and here
should be the scene of her earthly punishment" (84). This belief gives the
impression that she views her action as a sin and feels a need to further
punish herself. But this belief only covers her actual feelings. To the
contrary, as Hawthorne describes, her real reason for staying is that
"There dwelt, there trod the feet of one with whom she deemed herself
connected in a union, that, unrecognized on earth, would bring them
together before the bar of final judgment, and make their that marriage
altar, for a joint futurity of endless retribution" (84). This comment
means that the real reason for her staying is that Reverend Dimmsdale, the
father of her child, lives there and she hopes to someday marry him.
Hester believes that her adultery was a sin, but the book ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 6/7/2004 01:46:24 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 908
Pages: 4

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