How does Hester support herself?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hester Prynne, heroine and protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, lives alone with her infant daughter, Pearl, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She manages to make a living to support herself and her daughter by sewing and embroidering for others. She is not able to earn a significant amount of money with this domestic work, but she still manages to give a portion of her earnings to the poor and to spend some of her valuable money-earning time looking after others in her community. Her charitable nature, as evidenced by these good deeds and an unselfish attitude in general, leads many of the townspeople to view her positively, despite her crime of adultery. Hester's industriousness and humility disguise a truly strong and rebellious heart, no matter how domestic and stereotypically feminine her work may be.

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timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hester works as a seamstress. It is ironic that the only "public sinner" in their town creates beauty for all. Sadly, this cannot be said for some of the "good" people in the town.

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visualtec eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As a seamstress. Hester's gift for ornamental needlework allows her to market her goods to the wealthy members of the community.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hester becomes a seamstress. Her strong sewing skills allow her to make her living.

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