Of all the classic literature I have read, the literary character I admire most would have to be Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Hester is an extraordinarily strong woman, even in the harsh Puritan society. Even though Hester is unhappy due to her lack of adult companionship, she remains strong for her daughter, Pearl. Among these attributes, Hester has compassion for those who ridiculed her as well as Pearl for the sin Hester committed.
I admire Hester’s honesty and determination. Despite the fact that she knows that if she simply revealed the name of her lover she would not have to wear the letter, she remains silent. At the beginning of the novel, she stands with dignity, holding her baby, on the scaffold before the entire village. Hester does not reveal the agony she is feeling; rather she conveys poise and stubborn secrecy.
Hester, for the most part, hides from her daughter what the ?A’ that she bears stands for. At the same time, she is honest. She in no way denies her sin. I admire her honesty about it above all else. She may not disclose the name of her lover, but she does not deny that she has committed a sin.
Among Hester’s strength and honesty lies loyalty. Loyalty is equally as important as honesty, and truly displays the importance of Hester’s life. Repeatedly, she is asked to reveal the name of her lover. «And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine.» (Hawthorne 64). Hester acknowledges that she will face agony. She knows that revealing the father’s name that she will not have to face her punishment. However, her loyalty is what keeps her from doing so. She knows that by telling of her lover that he will endure much more agony than she. Thus, she obliges to keep silent and prevent the man’s turmoil.
Hester was loyal to more than her lover; she was also loyal to the townsfolk. Even though they had exiled and ignored her, she continued to do her part in the village. The same people who punish her for her sin are the people who come to her for tailoring. Hester is there to help and comfort the poor and the ill. Despite her compassion and willingness to help those who are in need, the villagers continue to take her for granted and ignore her in the streets.