The Scarlet Letter: Hester’s Suffering
By no means is the Scarlet Letter a cheery novel with a happy ever after ending. In this piece of literature there is much sadness and suffering to be seen. No one’s suffering is greater than that of Hester Prynne the protagonist of this dreary novel.
Hester’s suffering impacts several if not all parts of her life. “I have thought of death,’ she said, ‘have even wished for it, would even have prayed for it, were it fit that such as I should pray for anything.”(pg.70). The mental suffering Hester endured slowly began to subside and be replaced with confidence and hope for the future.
The worst of her suffering was found in the social spectrum of her life. When her sin was found she was exposed to the whole community and marked with the scarlet letter A, for adultery. “ …with the scarlet token of infamy on her breast…”(pg.61). Upon the beginning of her sentence she is forced to stand before the entire town upon a scaffold for several hours. This and many other instances in the book showcasing the social pain she had to suffer. At this time and place in history being a part of the social structure was vital. If you were an outcast or in anyways separated, it hurt you deeply. In a town such as Hester’s every person attended church services together and women congregated for things such as quilting, among other gatherings. Yet even more than being an outcast, Hester was labeled as a sinner, furthering her separation from the community being. Sin was taken as a serious offence and in some cases even meant death or exile. Being separated, whispered about, and made an example of by the clergy Hester found it hard to carve out a living supporting a child and herself. A major hardship would have to be when the magistrates and local governor threatened to take her child, Pearl, from her. Feeling that she already has enough to contend with, Hester defends her right to raise her child. “Ye shall not take her! I will die...