In The Scarlet Letter how is Hester Prynne motherly, generous, and strong?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter subtitled "Another View of Hester", explains how, after seven years of living in anonymity and as a pariah, Hester's naturally proactive behavior leads her to live a productive life, despite of it all.

At this point in her life, Hester has lost the natural lustre that once made her stand out from other women. It is as if, in aims of make up for the fact that she will never love (or be loved) again, she gives whatever energy is left within her to do good for others.

No one was as willing as she to give what little she had to the poor, even though the needy would often mock the woman who brought food to their door or made them plain clothes with hands skilled enough to stitch for kings.

Hester's own sorrows do not matter as long as she can serve as a shoulder upon others would cry. In times of pain, she is always there to tend to others. She also fully acknowledges that she will never take away her past actions and the consequences that fell upon her as a result. Yet, her strength of character makes her resist to complaint or to even question why her life in particular has turned out to be so rough and lonely. Nevertheless she gave all of herself to others without expecting anything in return.

Hester was able to show her rich and warm nature. She was a wellspring of human tenderness, never failing to meet every real demand no matter how large.

The author goes further on to say that Hester was proclaimed perhaps by God himself as a "Sister of Mercy". This makes her kindness seem to supersede whatever wrong she had done in the past.

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The Scarlet Letter

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