All who have read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter know of the harsh judgment passed by the Puritan society on Hester Prynne's sin of adultery. Hester could not rebel against their punishment, but she defied them in numerous ways. When interrogated for the name of her partner in sin, she refused to expose him. In fact, Hester never gave up her love to Arthur and, in the end, was able to be by his side. When faced with the possibility of losing her daughter, Pearl, she argued heatedly with the head of the church and the leader of the settlement in order to keep Pearl by her side. Lastly, the scarlet letter was her shame to begin with, but eventually turned into a badge of honor.
At the beginning of the novel, the Puritans demand of Hester to speak out the name of her accomplice in adultery. She defied them by refusing to name him even though she was tempted, persuaded, and finally threatened by powerful persons of the society, " 'Woman, transgress not beyond the limits of Heaven's mercy!' cried the Reverend Mr. Wilson" (66). Further defiance was proved when she continued to love Arthur and remained steadfast to him till death. Moreover, she called him "the only man to whom the power was left me to be true!" (167). After death Hester was buried next to him and they shared a tombstone, "[her grave] was near [Arthur's grave]…yet one tombstone served for both" (258).
Equally important, Hester's love for Pearl is rebelliousness towards the Puritan society. Though Hester is shunned from the society and is a single mother, she still feels that she can do a better job of raising Pearl than a Puritan family. When she hears of the idea circulating around to separate Hester from Pearl and have Pearl raised in a Puritan family, Hester marches up to the Governor's house and fights to keep Pearl, "…with [Pearl, the] sole treasure to keep


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