It’s When viewed from the surface, almost

It’s something that has been said since forever by well meaning parents and high school counselors and in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author reiterates this bit of advice to the characters as well as the readers: “Be true!” When viewed from the surface, almost none of the characters followed the simple suggestion offered by Hawthorne, or the entire conflict of the novel could have been averted. Chillingworth the revenge monger was unwilling to reveal even his real name and intent, and Dimmesdale the sentimental and trusted pastor, was unable to reveal his dark secret. That leaves Hester. In the beginning she was not only forced to be true to herself and the whole town, but to emotionally and mentally evolve. She had found her identity in the novel the day she stood on that scaffold.

If given a choice, Hester would have rather worn the mark of shame than not, because the letter had transformed her into who she is. The blood red letter may not be pretty, but it is immensely better than living a lie. By digging a little deeper into the novel, it’s plain that Hester is the only one true in the entire book, both to her self and society. Hester and Hester alone had the courage to do what was right by showing who she really was. She let the events of the novel shape her like a ball of clay into the person she would become, instead of controlling events or resisting change. Although many may say she didn’t learn her lesson by wanting to run off with Dimmesdale, she had in fact learned her lesson thoroughly and by admitting her love she didn't make the same mistake a second time. The key difference between Hester and all of the other main characters in The Scarlet Letter is that she had nothing to hide. These circumstances enabled her to get the courage to show who she really was.

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When Hester was forced on to the scaffold for all to see she made no effort at hiding the mark of sin on her chest with the very object produced by it. She is true to her self and the town for making no attempt in hiding who she is, and for lack of a better metaphor, she quite literally wore her heart on her sleeve. After Hesters brief imprisonment, she gives some thought to leaving the town but decides against it. She didn’t base this choice on the idea she might not be able to make a living, or get by surrounded by strangers. She didn’t even decide this base on emotional factors.

“Here had been her sin; here, her sorrow; and here was yet to be her penitence.” In this quote, Hester knew leaving would be running away from her punishments and fears, and by committing this cowardly act of running away would by no means get her on better terms with god. Finally, in the infamous forest scene, Hester gets enough courage to tell Dimmesdale how he is wrong, that she is not the root of all his suffering because Chillingworth is her husband. This instance illustrates Hesters courage very well. Chillingworth, the evil and malicious doctor had been torturing Dimmesdale for the past several years all because Hester was his wife, and he had to have revenge.

She needed all the strength she could get to give this information to Dimmesdale because she knew how much it would hurt him. But in doing so both of them came to the higher conclusion that Chillingworth was to blame for his actions, and that he was actually committing a far greater sin than the two of them. Through these several events, Hester illustrates her courage to tell the truth no matter how much it may hurt, and to do what is right no matter what hardships may come. Through Hesters willingness to accept a great deal of change throughout the novel lends a hand in Hesters ‘true’ nature. She becomes a purer form of her self, untouched by dramatic choices or events. A variety of personality traits contribute towards Hesters truth, mostly her strong willed nature. This ability to last through the worst emotional stress without ending up in a nervous breakdown helped her from beginning to end in dealing with the harsh criticism of the towns people, something that happened daily.

She never fought back, instead she absorbed it and it only made her stronger. The real Hester, whom among other things, is a motherly figure even when pearl no longer lives with her. She had spent much of her adult life raising Pearl, so the role of a mother fits her very well. When Pearl and her separate to seek meaning in both of their lives, Hester moves back to her modest cottage.

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