Rejectioning

Examine whether Hester’s elaborately hewn the scarlett letter indicated her rejection of the cummunity’s view of her act, or is it more her way of expressing herself artistically:

Tom and Chris from West Chester East High School wrote:

http://static.userland.com/sh4/images/booknotes/scarletLetter.jpg

Hester’s elaborately hewn scarlet “A” indicates her rejection of the community’s view of her act. The letter was supposed to be a harsh reminder of her terrible sin. On page 37 the narrator says, “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,-so that both men and women, who had been familiarly qcquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as

if they beheld her for the first time,- was that Scarlet Letter, so fantastically embroidered and illumninated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself.” This quotation shows that the letter’s purpose was to increase her shame for every day she lived. The only way Hester could protest the community’s opinion was to decorate the scarlet letter. By decorating it, she had turned it from a “spell” to a beautiful decoration that represented her strength. Once she made the letter elaborate, she no longer was completely controlled by its shame. Hester then was able to get a better reputation in the community for her hard work and ability. Hester was too strong of a character to simply decorate her scarlet letter without having a motive. She needed to lessen the pain, which she did by decorating the letter.

For example, seven years after the birth of Pearl, Hester’s appearance had changed greatly. She no longer let her hair down, and she appeared to be wiser. This is proof that although Hester sewed for a living, she did not care for pointless embroidery. The decoration of the letter had to be out of protest against the opinion that what Hester and Dimmesdale did was wrong.

7 Responses to “Rejectioning”
  1. Dilys Hall says:

    Your ideas about what theembroidery on the letter means are good, and I agree with you on most of them. I just think she still felt great same due to her letter, embroidered or not.

  2. Becca Sayler says:

    I think you make a good point, but I don’t think that Hester was really protesting the fact that what she and Dimmesdale did was wrong. She knew it was a sin and admitted and regretted it. I agree with Dilys that the decoration didn’t make her feel any less guilty.

  3. Audrey Guyer says:

    This is an interesting take on the reason for the elaborate embroidery. I also think that your use of the “word” rejectioning is very interesting.

  4. Katrina Steinley says:

    This is a good analysis of the meaning of Hester’s scarlet letter, but I am going to have to agree with the posts above me. I do not think Hester thought that what she and Dimmesdale did was “wrong,” just out of line for the Puritan morals they had to follow. She felt guilty and dedicated her life to helping others because she knew that she had sinned in the eyes of her fellow townspeople and wanted to show that she was a good person. If she thought that what she and Dimmesdale did was wrong, she would not have cared about him so much and wanted to spend her life with him (i.e. scene in the forest, scene when Dimmesdale dies).

    long post…sorry.

  5. Lexie Leone says:

    Rishi, this summary is wonderful. You added good details and showed your understanding of the somewhat difficult novel. The title is also creative and thought provoking.

  6. Isabel Kim says:

    I mostly agree with your opinions. I think by decorating her scarlet letter, Hester showed individuality even though I am not sure if she meant to protest against the Puritan society.

  7. Kate Crooks says:

    I would like to submit a third idea: the scarlet letter is a call for attention.

    Without the scarlet letter, Hester Prynne is “The Woman Whose Husband Is… Somewhere” and that is about all that anyone in the town cares about. Hawthorne realizes this — why do we never hear about Hester before the affair? Why do we never hear about any part of her life, including what happened between her and Dimmesdale, which would, quite frankly, have been more interesting than his real “prequel” chapter? That is because Hester Prynne, by herself, is boring. Only when she becomes “The Adulteress” does anyone care about her.

    If she really wanted to rebel, she would have left in protest, or spoke up about it. Instead, she makes sure that everyone knows she is “The Adulteress.” She is willing to take attention in any form. This is the true reason why she does not leave — at a new town, she would be some nobody. Infamy is better than no fame at all. She doesn’t want to reject society — she wants to be at the center of it in any way that she can.

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