If you were Hester Prynne and writing an editorial to a newspaper, what views, thoughts and opinions would you include?By the end of the novel, it is reported that Hester Prynne has returned to...

If you were Hester Prynne and writing an editorial to a newspaper, what views, thoughts and opinions would you include?

By the end of the novel, it is reported that Hester Prynne has returned to Salem and resumed wearing the scarlet letter on her bosom. Living out her days in the place where her sin was exposed, imagine what Hester would include in an editorial.

Asked on by magnotta

7 Answers | Add Yours

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

I do believe that Hester would write an editorial that reflects her works as the town angel. I believe she would speak of how misguided applications of God's law drove one noble but dimly sighted and erring man to self-destruction. I believe she would speak of how confession is meant to liberate the soul, as Dimmesdale's ultimate confession liberated both himself and Pearl. I believe she would say that since Christ's message was freedom and liberation that a belief in confession as a path to destruction led further from the lost Eden, not toward it.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Frankly, I suspect that in Hester's time and place, it would be difficult to find a publisher for any views that openly and scathingly attacked Puritan orthodoxy. If Hester did manage to get something published, I am guessing that it would use the Bible itself to make whatever points it made.  Use of the Bible, by both sides in the discussion of any controversial issue, was quite common in the seventeenth century. It seems safe to assume that Hester would quote scripture often and at length. It also seems safe to assume that Hester's views would not be nearly as radical or "feminist" as we might assume they would be or even should be. Hawthorne was writing two centuries after the events he describes, and even his book seems tame and decorous by today's standards.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Perhaps the chapter that best serves your needs is Chapter XIII in which the reader is afforded an insight into Hester Prynne.

Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatised by the scarlet letter. In her lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore, thoughts visited her, such as dared to enter no other dwelling in New England; shadowy guests, that would have been as perilous as demons to their entertainer, could they have been seen so much as knocking at her door.

One of the questions which Hester asks herself is whether life is still worth living. She decides that it is not.  For, she understands that the whole of society must be torn down until she can live freely again. Hester's speculation reveals Hawthorne's analysis of the role of women in American society, both within the setting and at the time that the narrative was written; namely, 1850.

Hester's ponderings reveal that three steps which must occur before women can ever achieve equality: the whole of society must be altered; men's attitudes toward women must change, and women must change their image of themselves, perhaps losing their “ethereal essence,” or femininity, as they do so. With remarkable perspicacity, Hawthorne, through Hester examines the sociological currents in his society.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think in either case (a modern or period piece), the editorial would be a scathing commentary on an oppressive society. Hester could focus on the hypocrisy of people who judge others when there are sinful aspects of their own lives. She should also mention the double standard for me and women.
accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Is the editorial meant to be written in today's world or in the world of the novel? I think if it were written in the time of the novel, it would include a very frank look at Puritain hypocrisy and the way in which overt sins are punished so harshly, but other, perhaps more innocuous sins remain unnoticed and unpunished. The sins of hypocrisy that are evident in this excellent novel would not have gone unnoticed by Hester Prynne, and I think she would probably add a comment about the way in which her sin and the punishment she faced as a result of it actually allowed her to grow in knowledge about what it meant to be human.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think that an article written by Hester Prynne today would be something that teens and young adults could relate to very easily. One could include how "she" was bullied and how those around her defiled her character.

If she were to write an editorial back in her hometown, as gutsy as she was in the text, she most surely state the wrongs that had been done to her. She would not suggest that she was not to blame. It is not in her nature, as readers see in the story, to blame others. She is a woman who takes full responsibility for her actions.

What she would most certainly do is offer her opinion on what happened to her--how she was treated and what the treatment does to a person. Given that she was treated very unfairly, she would have plenty of first-hand experience to relate to readers of the editorial. In the end, Hester would most likely admit that all of the trials she faced in life were worth it--Pearl was bale to escape he mother's shame and, therefore, so was Hester.

magnotta's profile pic

magnotta | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

The editorial was intended to be written at the time of the novel. It was meant to address Hester Pyrnne's thoughts and opinions regarding Puritan society and life at the time she returned to Salem at the end of the novel and before her death. I apologize for not specifying in my question.

 

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question