Scarlet Letter Project - “Such a spiritual seer might have conceived that after sustaining the gaze of the multitude through seven miserable years as

Scarlet Letter Project - “Such a spiritual seer might...

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“Such a spiritual seer might have conceived, that, after sustaining the gaze of the multitude through seven miserable years as a necessity, a penance, and something which it was a stern religion to endure, she now, for one last time more, encountered it freely and voluntarily, in order to convert what had so long been agony into a kind of triumph” (213-214). The Heart- As evidenced from her endurance and perseverance through the seven years of painful trial in Puritan society, Hester was a strong woman. Despite having the alternative to leave the Puritan society and run away from her sin, she chose to stay, to face her punishment, to redeem herself, and to show her virtue when faced with persecution. However, the true strength of Hester Prynne was not only her ability to endure persecution, but also her capacity to “freely and voluntarily” continue her endurance. By the end of the novel, Hester, who was now well- regarded in the community, knew that she did not necessarily have to face her punishment anymore. Yet she still chose to suffer the cruel persecution from the festival strangers “for one last time more” with the hope of achieving some kind of triumph. It was this courage, this impressive strength of will to voluntarily endure something while knowing how tragic it can be, that truly revealed the impenetrable strength and unquestionable persistence of Hester’s heart.
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“Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because the result of martyrdom” (74). Analysis: As the village is the place where Hester has sinned and found repentance in her misconduct, Hester thinks that this is where she should stay and redeem her sin. Instead of running away from her sin and guilt, which is conventional for troubled sinners, she decides to amend what she did wrong by staying behind to accept and endure her punishment, and to perform charity for the community. Eventually, this course of action would lead her to redemption and purge the guilt out of her heart, that would have otherwise convulse and corrupt her being had she turned away from the problem and kept it forever hidden. While Hester’s decision may not necessarily sound conventional nor logical in light of common sense, it is perfectly logical in her own mind.
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