Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The part of the society that lived without

The
Scarlet Letter

In the Scarlett letter,
both Anne Hutchinson and Mistress Hibbins are seen as powerful women who fight
for what they believe in, even if it is risky. They are comparable to Hester
Prynne who despite facing exclusion from the community did not reveal the
identity of her child’s father. Anne Hutchinson in particular shares major
similarities to the main character of the scarlet letter Hester Prynne. They
were both from England and settled in America. Also, they were both Puritans. I
believe that the narrator of the Scarlet would have possibly wanted to give the
character of Hester Prynne most of the traits that Anne Hutchinson possessed.
The act of extinction from the community and jail term of both Anne Hutchinson
and Mistress Hibbins are very significant in defining the situation of Hester.

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After reading the text, I
viewed Anne Hutchinson as a representation of strength that is exhibited by the
main character and defiance against the Puritans who were far more hypocritical
that the sins committed by those they disregarded. The following quotation from
Chapter Thirteen of the Scarlet letter proves that Hester carried in herself
the strength the author wanted her to borrow from Anne Hutchinson, which was
represented by the Scarlet letter on her, “She never battled with the
public, but submitted uncomplainingly to its worst usage; she made no claim
upon it in requital for what she suffered; she did not weigh upon its
sympathies” (Hawthorne, Chapt.13 p. 1). I think Mistress Hibbins in the
Scarlet letter represent the sin between Hester and minister Dimmesdale seeing
that she was a witch. Mistress Hibbins also represented the non-hypocritical
part of the society that lived without recognition of sin. She was not a saint
herself seeing she is referred to as the ugly tempered lady in Chapter
16 (Hawthorne, p. 2). Mistress Hibbins was a witch and the governor’s sister
who carried the secret of Hester and minister Dimmesdale for a long time
without ratting it out to the Puritans. In my opinion, her character represents
discretion despite her being the evil one, unlike the Puritans who claimed to
be pure.

When the narrator
described Anne Hutchinson as the ‘sainted’ in chapter one, he could have
been using the term as a form of sarcasm knowing full well that she was also
jailed for shaking the foundation of the colony. He could have also been
referring to the facts of Anne’s life which included her increasing following
and her being considered a threat by the authorities. “Hatred is a gradual
and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change is
impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility”
(Hawthorne, Chapt.13 p. 1). I understand that the narrator wanted to
give Hester the same status as Anne that even though jailed and secluded, still
had people who looked up to them and hence the term ‘sainted.’ Anne
Hutchinson was a mother of fifteen, preached the gospel of ‘free grace,’
and even visited women at childbirth for bible study, which made her
compassionate. All of her traits, from rebellion to charity, could have been
some of the many reasons why the author referred to her as ‘sainted.’

Governor John Winthrop is
mentioned in Chapter Twelve of the Scarlet letter. He had just died and his
death was surrounded by much hypocrisy. Besides, it occurred when minister
Dimmesdale happens to climb up the scaffold of the town with his guilt to admit
his sins. John Winthrop’s death to me depicted his cowardly nature, which the
author uses to compare with minister Dimmesdale who had lived his whole life
hiding from his sins making Hester to be shamed and excluded.   

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