Homework Help

"The strain on Hester and Pearl’s relationship from in the The Scarlet Letter is...

user profile pic

user9779906 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2013 at 1:15 AM via web

dislike 1 like

"The strain on Hester and Pearl’s relationship from in the The Scarlet Letter is brought on by the fact that Hester’s sin from the past causes their family constant mock and scorn."

Could you help me find quotes for this? Thank you so much!

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 19, 2013 at 11:07 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Hester's scarlet letter has made her into a pariah. The inner insecurities, self-hatred, and sanctimonious nature of the villagers make them spill their feelings onto Hester as if none of them had ever committed a sin. There are several instances when Hester and Pearl have to tolerate the ill treatment of others, but we find that Pearl is actually who acts like Hester's mouthpiece and sticks for her mother in spite of what others are doing.

In chapter VII, "The Governor's Hall", we find Hester and Pearl taking a public route to the Governor's mansion not only to deliver some pieces of wardrobe that Hester had been requested to furnish, but also because Hester had heard that the aldermen were considering removing Pearl from Hester's care.

During the walk, Hester expected the usual: having to bow her head and point at the scarlet letter, the public scorn of the goodwives, and even the mention of her sin at sermons which she also attended.

This time, a group of children crossed their way and said cruelly-

Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!

to this, Pearl responded with such wrath that the children ran away.

Even as Hester leaves the prison in chapter II, there is an evident dislike of Hester and the child, especially coming from the goodwives who waited outside the jail just to stare at Hester and to talk against her.

I'll tell ye a piece of my mind. It would be greatly for the public behoof if we women, being of mature age and church-members in good repute, should have the handling of such malefactresses as this Hester Prynne!

Another example occurs in "The Marketplace"

she had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult.. Had a roar of laughter burst from the multitude--each man, each woman, each little shrill-voiced child, contributing their individual parts--Hester Prynne might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile.

Therefore, from the moment she is put on the scaffold to be ridiculed by others, up until the death of Dimmesdale, Hester has had to carry with her the burden of the scarlet letter, and the anger of the people who so sanctimoniously express their holier than thou attitudes against a woman who really did not commit a crime.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes