In The Scarlet Letter, how does Hester develop into a modern character?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Hester Prynne, from Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, develops into a modern character over the course of the text.

The most poignant fact which supports Heater's transformation into a modern character is the fact that she chose to stay in America and face the consequences of her actions (her adulterous affair). Many Puritan women would not have been strong enough to survive the alienation and ridicule which Hester faced. They would have bent to the oppressive nature of the men around them and submitted to their demands.

Instead of submitting, Hester Prynne stood strong. She did not allow her gender to rule her actions. She did not allow the dominant males of the society to have their way with her (regarding her admitting who was the father of Pearl). Hester stood her ground, accepted her fate, and supported both her daughter and herself.

In regards to the strength Hester showed, it was more mirroring of the modern woman than of the Puritan woman. She was strong beyond her time, her generation, and the oppressive nature of the Puritan life. She was, by far, a more modern woman than others depicted at the time.

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