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Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony in The Scarlet Letter.

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alerta15 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2007 at 4:07 AM via web

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Give at least 2 reasons why Hester does not leave the colony in The Scarlet Letter.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 4, 2007 at 4:33 AM (Answer #1)

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For one, she has nowhere else to go.  Two, she believes that running would only convince the people further of her guilt, which she does not believe. 

Later in the novel, her "A" comes to mean more than "adultery"; she proves herself an "able" and productive member of the colony;  an "asset" rather than an embarrassment.

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malenig | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 7, 2008 at 9:38 PM (Answer #2)

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There are two reasons that Hawthorne gives for Hester's decision to remain in Boston: 1.) This was the "spot where some great and marked event" gave "color" to her "lifetime."  The most significant events in her life occurred in Boston, and, as Hawthorne says, "The chain that bound her here was of iron links." 2.) In Boston, her lover and father to Pearl remained.  Bound to him by what she considered to be an unbreakable union, Hester could not leave him.

Hester says that she must work out her penance in Boston since it was the place where she had sinned.  Hawthorne says her reason is a "half-truth" because her desire to remain close to Dimmesdale was foremost in her mind.

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