The character Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter first appears as a beautiful and defiant young woman, but as the story progresses Hester matures and becomes devoted and strong. The story is set in the early Puritanical colony of Boston. Hester Prynne is charged with the crime and sin of adultery, bears an illegitimate child, is made to stand on a scaffold to be publicly ostracized, and made to wear a scarlet A on her chest for the rest of her existence. Through this punishment Hester continually gives the impression that she is dispassionate, shameless, and even haughty. However after several years have passed Hester is secluded from the village and ordinary people but becomes an extremely valuable asset to the village and a compassionate aid to people less fortunate than herself. Finally Hester metamorphoses into a strong loving individual who helps others lean to accept their guilt and confess. Hester Prynne evolves through out the novel and is able to face situations and trails in her life that challenge the moral foundations of her society. .
The young Hester Prynne had committed the act of adultery and received her punishment with defiance and haughty pride. Hester first appears in the story emerging from her jail cell with her bastard child, at first she clutches the child to conceal the A on her chest but then "In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors." (50) She is not proud of what she has done, but refuses to be belittled by the gossiping people of the village. Hester shows this same defiance when she is questioned on the scaffold for the name os her child's father she replies to their questioning "Never!. I will not speak!.