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Changing Identity in The Scarlet Letter

            Throughout the course of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne several occurrences of sin are recognized within each of the characters. The true identities of Hester and Dimmesdale are brought to the surface throughout the novel because of the sin they share. Both characters have committed what was considered a great sin in the time period, and it manifested differently within them. Their future and newfound identities are a projection of the past sins that they have committed. While their sin may have been a choice, the consequences from their misgivings are shown to be up to fate. While both characters have a major transformation in identity throughout the novel, Hester's is the most revolutionary. Hester creates a new identity for herself as a woman, completely devoid of her past sins, and in turn is shown to be a positive and empowering role model.
             In the final chapter and scene of the novel, Hawthorne indicates that although life for Hester in the past was, at times, a struggle, Boston will always be her home. One of the first remarks made is Hawthorne stating "there was a more real life for Hester Prynne, here" (Hawthorne 201). This only seeks to add an increasing amount of depth and understanding of the character Hester. While she was facing a considerable amount of hardship and misfortune during her life in Boston, it was the time in which she truly found her own identity and place in the Puritan society. No matter how unconventional the means were by which she achieved this status, she did so completely on her own. Coming back to the place where such dark times are a highlighted part of her past shows an immense sense of bravery and courage on her part. She is unwilling to succumb to the notion that she should hide and be ashamed for decisions she has made in her life. She may have been severely isolated throughout her seven years of punishment, but this has no effect on how she chooses to live her life presently.

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