What does the title In the Blood mean?  

The title of In the Blood means that the main character, Hester, was destined to have a repeating cycle of poverty and despair in her life due to her predispositions and patterns of behavior that were in her nature.

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Many times, one hears another person say “It’s in her blood” or “It’s just in his blood” in reference to a positive or negative character trait, habit, predisposition, or behavior of said person. These types of statements can refer to a repeated cycle that occurs in one’s life, as well. Examples of this statement might be a child of an addict who becomes dependent upon illegal substances or a child of a professional athlete who grows up to play the same sport as well as their parent. Likewise, one might hear this phrase, “It’s in the blood” when a person is talking about the offspring of a champion race horse prodigy who is also a winner.

In the case of Suzan-Lori Parks's play In the Blood, the main character, Hester, seems incapable of escaping a pattern of poverty and promiscuity in her difficult life. She somewhat resigns herself to the belief that her depressing destiny is “In the Blood,” or that it was bound to continue. Loosely representative of The Scarlet Letter, Parks's play also finds Hester the center of criticism and judgment, as each of her five children has a different father. She is also branded by the illegitimate children she has borne. She longs for stability for her children and herself, but she continues a cycle of adulterous relationships which do not provide any lasting aid or relief for her family. Hester continues to make bad decisions, ultimately leading to the death of one of her sons.

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