Hester Prynne: a Heroine of American Literature

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Hester Prynne: A heroine of American Literature Since the beginning of time, women have made lasting impacts in society and in life as we know it. Even before women in America had rights equal to those of men, they have been recognized as heroines of their time. A heroine is a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities. Women such as Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Oprah Winfrey are considered heroines of American in the past and today. These women are remembered and honored for their charity work, influential leadership, and for being role models for women and young girls. The character of these women also crosses over to fictional characters in American Literature. Heroes in literature are usually admired because they are common people and more relatable to the reader. John Osborne, a British playwright and screenwriter, pointed out that, “Heroes, whatever high ideas we may have of them, are mortal and not divine. We are all as God made us and many of us much worse” (enotes 1). Nathaniel Hawthorne created a female character that fits this description perfectly in Hester Prynne. Through adultery, raising a child, and isolation from society, Hester discovers herself and becomes a woman of self-reliance and integrity. “She is a hero because she has qualities and actions that transcend gender references and lead to heroism as it can be understood for anyone” (Baym 138). Hester Prynne is one of the greatest female heroes of American Literature because of her strength. Nathaniel Hawthorne proves that Hester was strong as she raises her daughter. He describes her persistence to keep her daughter Pearl. “Hester is a woman of action” (Elbert 220). She would sacrifice her own life for Pearl’s. “Ye shall not take her! I will die first…I will not give her up!”

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