identity crisis.Discuss the relationship between the scarlet letter and hester's identity. Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter? What is the diffrence between the identity she...

identity crisis.

Discuss the relationship between the scarlet letter and hester's identity. Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter? What is the diffrence between the identity she creates for herself and the identity society assigns her?

Writing an essay and i want my paragraphs to be as detailed as possible .

if you can please use clear and concise examples from the text where it shows the relationship between her and the letter.

Ever opinion countss . Please and thank you : ]

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In Chapter XX, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes,

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

After wearing the scarlet letter for so many years, Hester's self-conception alters.  This letter, whose wearing has caused her beauty to fade and her passion to die, has become her identity.  There is little difference between the symbol and the woman; it is not a cover for her identity, but, rather her actual identity.  This is why Hester returns after having lived in England with her daughter Pearl and resumes the wearing on the old, faded letter that lies in the doorway of her old cottage's threshold (Chapter XXIV):

On the threshold she paused--turned partly round--for, perchance, the idea of entering all alone, all so changed, the home of so intense a former life, was more dreary and desolate than even she could bear.  But her hesitation was only for an instant, though long enough to display a scarlet letter on her breast.
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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Hester says more than once that if she were worthy of no longer wearing the letter it would come off of its own accord. One of those times is when Roger tells her the town leaders have considered letting her take it off; she says they don't have jurisdiction over the letter, that it is more than their simple punishment.

Probably the most significant example of how Hester feels as if her identity is connected to the letter is the fact that when she returns years after leaving, she puts the letter back on. That means she kept it all those years, and it means she can only see herself in the context of that token, at least when she is in America.

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daisyjaney | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hester says more than once that if she were worthy of no longer wearing the letter it would come off of its own accord. One of those times is when Roger tells her the town leaders have considered letting her take it off; she says they don't have jurisdiction over the letter, that it is more than their simple punishment.

Probably the most significant example of how Hester feels as if her identity is connected to the letter is the fact that when she returns years after leaving, she puts the letter back on. That means she kept it all those years, and it means she can only see herself in the context of that token, at least when she is in America.

In my opinion, the meaning of the letter"A"is changed by Hester. the orgin meaning of "A" is adultery, but the behavor of Hester shows her able and admirable.

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kolarikj | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

identity crisis.

Discuss the relationship between the scarlet letter and hester's identity. Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter? What is the diffrence between the identity she creates for herself and the identity society assigns her?

Writing an essay and i want my paragraphs to be as detailed as possible .

if you can please use clear and concise examples from the text where it shows the relationship between her and the letter.

Ever opinion countss . Please and thank you : ]

A quote that comes to mind is:

"She had wandered, without rule or guidance, into a moral wilderness. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers - stern and wild ones - and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss."

While Hester understood the letter to be her penance, she took it on as a cover for her inner identity. Women were taught to deny themselves beyond pleasure. They denied themselves simple happiness like enjoying sunshine. (Pearl makes reference to this later in the book when she comments about the sun running from Hester.) Any bit of happiness or pleasure was to be met with shame. This lead to depression as Hester fought her desire for happiness. Ultimately, Hester becomes emotionally withdrawn from society. The letter gives her license to physically withdraw from a society that she feels just wants to suppress any individuality she may possess. The letter makes Hester the individual she wants to be while providing an excuse for it at the same time.

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