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The Personal Power of Hester Prynne

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As created by Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter, the character of Hester Prynne is a powerful woman.  She interacts impressively with those around her in the epoch that the story takes place – Puritan America of the 1640’s.  If she had lived in the days of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) it is certain that she would also be looked upon as an influential woman of that time.  In fact, if she had lived in our day, there is no doubt that she would be a leader among women in our society.

The source of Hester’s power is her moral integrity.  Now, that may be a fantastic claim for the main character of a novel that addresses adultery.  But I am confident that you will at least understand the thesis, if not agree with it, once the evidence is presented and considered.

We will first review the social structure that prevailed in Puritan America, including the roles of men and women.  We will observe how Hester related to the male hierarchy and especially how she dealt with the auster…