IJLLL 2018 Vol.4(4): 309-313 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2018.4.4.192

Exploration on the Critical Point of Hester’s Repentance

Wang Qianyu
Abstract—The paper intends to explore the indication point of Hester’s repentance. Most scholars and critics hold that Hester was repented when she was accepted by her townspeople as the result of her long time devotion to others and care about them. However, if that were true, it means that Hester recognized her mistake just when she was released from the jail since from then on she has given more than what she has taken: She chose the life that she would be forgiven for her wrongdoings. However, if that were the truth again, how can we justify her behavior in the woods: she told Dimmesdale that what they did “had a consecration of its own” and even tried to persuade him to escape with her? In this sense, townspeople’s acceptance does not mean her repentance. The paper first presents the criterion of repentance: the recognition of wrong-doing in one’s own heart, instead of the forgiveness from others. Then, it reveals that her townspeople’s acceptance of her is conditional, not forgiveness. Last, the paper demonstrates that Hester was not repented until at the end of story. Four representative incidents are employed to explore her psychological motives: 1 the trial on the scaffold; 2 acceptance from community; 3 the confession in the woods; and 4 resuming the scarlet letter.

Index Terms—Criterion of repentance, psychological motive of repentance, redeem, redemption, repentance.

Wang Qianyu is with Harbin Institute of Technology, China (e-mail: wangqianyuhit@126.com).

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Cite:Wang Qianyu, "Exploration on the Critical Point of Hester’s Repentance," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 309-313, 2018.

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