In The Scarlet Letter, Chapters 13-15, how does Hester view womanhood?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By chapter 13, Hester is a bit jaded with the world.  It has been seven years since Pearl's birth and eight since her adultery.  Hester does a lot of good works for the poor of the community, but she is still scorned because of her past sin and the marking she bears on her clothing.  Interestingly, though, the people of the town are beginning to see the scarlet "A" as meaning "able" instead of "adultery." Despite the attitude shift, Hester is no longer a beautiful and passionate woman.  The text says that she has become "a bare and harsh outline."  To me, that means she has become a shell of the woman she once was. 

That doesn't mean she is hollow and empty though.  Hester internalizes a lot more than she once did and becomes more thoughtful about her actions, her place in society, her rearing of Pearl, and her "relationship" with Dimmesdale and Chillingworth.  Her attitude toward womanhood is now much more mature than it ever has been, but not all of that maturity and growth have been positive. 

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The Scarlet Letter

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