What are some quotes from The Scarlet Letter and Infidel that represent the same thing happening to the books' characters?After reading the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the...

What are some quotes from The Scarlet Letter and Infidel that represent the same thing happening to the books' characters?

After reading the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the book Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali,I was asked to find 5 quotes that represent the same thing

These similarities can be within the story or similarities that happen to the books' characters.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting comparison because there are quite a few uncanny similarities between The Scarlet Letter andInfidel, a nonfiction work. Below are several similarities and quotes to get you started.

1. Both Hester and Ayaan are forced into marriages, Hester by her social class circumstances and Ayaan by her country and religion's culture. Neither woman is content or happy in her marriage. Ayaan chooses to leave hers quickly; Hester commits adultery which is a form of leaving her marriage.

2. Both women are ruled by religious communities. Hester is a member of a Puritan society which uses the idea of a fear-provoking God to force conformity. Ayaan grows up in a strict Muslim culture which follows her from country to country.

3. In Chapter 14 ofInfidel, after 9/11, Ayaan begins to question her faith and the nature of humanity. Living in the Netherlands at the time, she thinks,

"Humans themselves are the source of good and evil . . . . We must think for ourselves; we are responsible for our own morality" (282).

At this point, Ayaan considers not only how she has been oppressed as a Muslim woman and that she should not have to give up her will in order to be moral or religious--she can think for herself. Hester Prynne arrives at the same conclusion. As the novel progresses, others come to see her as a moral, caring human being, but she is not that person because of going to church or following the strict Puritan code; rather, she has developed a sense of morality through her relationship with God.

4. Both women are isolated from their communities--Hester at the beginning of The Scarlet Letter and Ayaan throughout her autobiography. Hester, because of her breaking the moral/religious code of the Puritans, becomes an outcast. Ayaan first chooses to leave Somalia for marriage, then leaves the marriage for freedom, but then is forced out of the Netherlands which has become her home. When she speaks out against injustice and Islamic oppression, Ayaan receives a letter stating that she has been denied Dutch citizenship even though previously she had been told that she had earned it and had served in the Dutch Parliament. Just as Hester realizes that she is not a part of Boston's community, Ayaan acknowledges,

"I was no longer Dutch" (338).

5. Finally, both women stand strongly by their view of God and their right to live by that view. Hester becomes a beacon of encouragement and advice by the end of her life. Ayaan completes The Infidel by presenting the most significant lesson learned from her alienation. She writes,

"It is possible to free oneself--to adapt one's faith, to examine it critically, and to think about the degree to which that faith is itself at the root of oppression" (350).

While it might seem like it to some, neither woman is anti-God or anti-religion. On the contrary, both promote the idea that one's faith is a very personal experience that should result in an individual's bettering herself and helping those around her--not forcing people into rigid molds which strip away their liberty and critical thinking skills all in the name of religion.

jaredsmith | Student

i agree

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The Scarlet Letter

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