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Excerpt from Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter, "Another View of Hester"

Excerpt from Chapter 13 of The Scarlet Letter, "Another View of Hester"

In this passage Hester is represented as a woman of an independence of mind equal to that of religious dissident Anne Hutchinson. It is probable that Hawthorne would have seen this quality simultaneously as a great strength and a terrible fault.

It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society. The thought suffices them, without investing itself in the flesh and blood of action. So it seemed to be with Hester. Yet, had little Pearl never come to her from the spiritual world, it might have been far otherwise. Then, she might have come down to us in history, hand in hand with Ann Hutchinson, as the foundress of a religious sect. She might, in one of her phases, have been a prophetess. She might, and not improbably would, have suffered death from the stern tribunals of the period, for attempting to undermine the foundations of the Puritan establishment. But, in the education of her child, the mother's enthusiasm of thought had something to wreak itself upon. Providence, in the person of this little girl, had assigned to Hester's charge the germ and blossom of womanhood, to be cherished and developed amid a host of difficulties.



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