What talent did Hester use to support herself and Pearl?from The Scarlet Letter, Chapter 5

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hester possessed talent in the art of needlework, which she used to support herself and Pearl.  In Chapter 5, the narration says that she

"...incurred...no risk of want.  She possessed an art that sufficed, even in a land that afforded comparatively little scope for its exercise, to supply food for her thriving infant and herself.  It was the art - then, as now, almost the only one within a woman's grasp - of needlework."

The demand for her work included vestments for public ceremonies, funerals, and baby linen.  And of course, she wore at all times on her own bodice a delicately embroidered scarlet "A".

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite her adorned "A", however, Hester wore very plain clothes herself.  The fancy clothes she made were for the women of the town.  It is ironic and hypocritical that these women are still judging her for "outlandish" behavior, when by Puritan standards, Hester is dressing appropriately and they are being outlandish.  Not to mention that they criticize her constantly but still buy from her!

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Letter

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question