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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, describe the clothes Hester makes for her...

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meganhuff7 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM via web

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, describe the clothes Hester makes for her daughter?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM (Answer #1)

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Hawthorne describes Hester as one who is really good at sewing, so she makes a career out of making and fixing all types of clothing. It would make sense, then, that she would make clothes for her own daughter. Hester certainly has a unique eye and bold style because she chooses reds and golds for her daughter to wear. The Puritans were a humble and simple people who wouldn't seek to stand out in a crowd, so they didn't wear a lot of color, if any. As Pearl takes to the streets by chapter seven, she is received by little children with mocking words and mud clots thrown at her. Pearl runs them off and does not feel ashamed of who she is though; and, her personality and clothing seem to speak for her. Hawthorne explains it best, though:

"Pearl's rich and luxuriant beauty; a beauty that shone with deep and vivid tints; a bright complexion, eyes possessing intensity both of depth and glow, and hair already a deep, glossy brown, and which, in after years, would be nearly akin to black. There was fire in her and throughout her, she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment. Her mother, in contriving the child's garb, had allowed the gorgeous tendencies of her imagination their full play; arraying her in a crimson velvet tunic, of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread. So much strength of colouring, . . . that it irresistibly and inevitably reminded the beholder of the token which Hester Prynne was doomed to wear upon her bosom. It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life" (48)

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