Homework Help

What was the impact of the Puritan Society on Hester in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Leter?

user profile pic

schooledmom | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:35 PM via web

dislike 1 like

What was the impact of the Puritan Society on Hester in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Leter?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

npoore84 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:04 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Hester Prynne to shows the rigors of living a Puritan life and in Puritan society. Hawthorne shows through Hester Prynne and the way she lived her life that society will cast someone out just based on how thier ideas and actions differ from society. Hester did not let this affect her; many Puritan women would have been crushed by having to live otuside of society because they were shunned by their leaders. Instead Hester builds a life for herself and Pearl outisde of the community. She has been banned by the community but she learns that community needs her and learns to give back to them. 

At the beginning of the novel she was forced to stand in front of the town, and humiliated for her sin. The crowd tried to break her down with criticism and humiliating words, but Hester refused to let it affect her. She stood there with her head held high. These perfect Puritans threw her out of their lives because she was not a drone to their ways, but a distinctive person. 

Eventually the community banished Hester in a way to show to people that sin and iniquity would not be tolerated. Instead of causing Hester to be crushed and humiliated, she gave back to the community, and the community lost a dedicated and divine individual. She was used as an example by mothers to their children while walking on the street. Mothers would point out to her that they could not be like her. Hester still lived her religion but in a much different way than the criticizing, harsh peers of her society. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes