EssaysHester Prynne: Comparion beween Reynold and Herzog EssaysHester Prynne is a very well recognized character in The ScarletLetter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
She is a character about whommuch gas been written such as, Toward Hester Prynn, by DavidReynolds, and The Scarlet A, Aboriginal and Awesome, by KristinHerzog. Reynold’s essay dealt with Hester as a heroine, who is anartistic combination of disparate female types. Herzog’s essaydealt with the idea that Hester is both wild and passionate, aswell as, caring, conservative, and alien.Towards Hester Prynne, by David Reynolds, expressed Hester as aheroine composed of many different stereotypes of females from thetime period Hawthorne was writing. Hawthorne created some of themost skeptical and politically uncommitted characters in pre-civilwar history. Reynolds went on to say, His Hawthorne’s careerillustrates the success of an especially responsive author ingathering together disparate female types and recombining themartistically so that they become crucial elements of therhetorical and artistic construct of his fiction (Reynolds 179).
Hawthorne used ironies of fallen women and female criminals toachieve the perfect combination of different types of heroines.His heroines are equipped to expel wrongs against their sexbringing about an awareness of both the rights and wrongs ofwomen. Hester is a compound of many popular stereotypes rich inthe thoughts of the time …portrayed as a fallen woman whosehonest sinfulness is found preferable to the future corruption ofthe reverend (Reynolds 183).
Hester was described by Reynolds asa feminist criminal bound in an iron link of mutual crime(Reynolds 183). According to Reynolds, Hawthorne was trying tohave his culture’s darkest stereotypes absorbed into the characterof Hester and rescue them from noisy politics by reinterpretingthem in Puritan terms and fusing them with the moral exemplar.Kristin Herzog had a somewhat different view of Hester in TheScarlet A, Aboriginal and Awesome. She described Hester as bothwild and passionate, and caring, conservative, and alien. Herzogstated that The Scarlet Letter is a story set at the rough edge ofcivilization.
Hester is as much an outcast as any Quaker in thePuritan colony and she takes the colony’s abuse laid upon her witha Quaker’s dignity. Herzog described Hester’s Aboriginalcharacteristics as caring and conservative. This aspect ofHester’s femininity is not the only trait, however, whichseparates her from the Puritan women around her.
She is also…
an alien with a touch of the exotic (Herzog). Thesecharacteristics have been further strengthened by social isolationcausing her attitude to grow out of her native courage andactivity. The awesome side of Hester is expressed as passionateand impulsive and yet showing a natural dignity and force ofcharacter (Herzog). She was also described as inwardly passionateand outwardly composed, of subhuman nature, a typical romanticheroine.Hester is a very complex character that represents many differentthings to different people. These are two differentinterpretations of the same character that are different, but havecertain similarities. Both Herzog’s and Reynold’s essays werepretty good except I thought them to be long-winded and avoidingthe subject Hester. Granted, some background information isneeded to emphasize or explain the points being made, but some ofthe ideas I felt were not needed.
Both authors had similar ideasabout the character of Hester, a feminist heroine who is composedof many different stereotypes of the time period in which thenovel takes place. I agree with the descriptions of the authorsin their opinions of Hester. In the novel Hester is a typicalhousewife, staying home and taking care of the kids, except forthe letter she has to wear and deal with from day to day. She wasalso stereotyped as a passive voice in both of her relationships:one with the reverend, and one with Chillingworth.
Chillingworthcontrolled her to keep his identity a secret and Dimsdale was inenough control to keep Hester from telling that he was her partnerin sin. These are both examples of common stereotypes of womenduring the pre-civil war period.