In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl
are isolated from society; this is shown by where they live, the action from people toward
Pearl and Pearl's reaction, and finally the response of the community toward Hester's
scarlet letter. Hester and Pearl are isolated by living so far out as they do. Pearl shows
signs that she is brought up without a friend in the world but her mother. The response
toward Hester's scarlet letter from the town's people show how she is isolated. Hester
and Pearl are isolated from everything in the world but each other.
Hester's new home is the biggest factor in saying that they are isolated from the
world. Hester finds an abandoned cottage on the outskirts of town, within verge of the
peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation (Hawthorne 77). Hester must
ask the magistrates if she can live in the abandoned cottage (Hawthorne 78). Hester tells
the magistrates that she is going to stay in town, since it reminds her of her sin and in that
way punishes her(Hawthorne 78). This house was far enough from civilization that
Hester and Pearl did not have a friend in the world besides each other.
Pearl, is a descendent both of sweet children who fashioned a play maiden out of
snow and of the friend's infants who stoned the gentle boy(Van Doren 130). Pearl causes
several disturbances to Hester throughout the novel. Governor Belligham plans to take
away the child, if it was not for Dimmesdale Pearl may have left her mother's
arms(Hawthorne 109). All that Pearl and Hester had were each other(Hawthorne 85).
Hester Prynne is constantly pointed out for her sin, because of the scarlet letter
she is forced to wear. Hester, whose solitary thought takes her far beyond the confines of
the code, she is not the subject of a sermon; she is the heroin of a tragedy and
understands the tragedy(Van Doren 132). After Hester settled in to her life she had to
get a job, so she sewed. People looked upon Hester's sin rather than Hester's ability to
sew, in that she was not allowed to sew on bride's dresses(Hawthorne 79). Hester was
pointed out as a flaw in the society which she was not even a part of.
Hester and her daughter live a life isolated from the world. They depend only on
each other. Society immediately isolated them because of Hester's sin. There is no
solution in life for Hester's sin. There was no other solution for Hawthorne's story, given
Hester's strength, Dimmesdale's weakness, and Chillingworth's perversion, than the one
found(Van Doren 132).
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