The Scarlet Essay Research Paper Characters versus — страница 2

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religion, to a refuge where men, as well as women, can open up and be themselves. The forest itself is the very embodiment of freedom. Nobody watches in the woods to report misbehavior, thus it is here that Hester feels secure. Her beauty comes back when she re-enters the forest, but when she is among the community it disappears. If the Puritan society was too be so strict, constantly conforming to the Bible, after Hester served her sentence, why then was she treated so wrong? The bible itself says to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Hawthorne could have had the community treat Hester better as time passed on, but he only showed that his sympathy lied with the community instead of Hester. Although she was strong and persistent with her punishment of wearing the A on her chest,

Hester eventually broke down. She turned “ugly” and gloomy; showing the reader that the community’s guilt finally overcame her. Stephan Crane is another notable novelist with a central character that is out of place by definition of her community/environment. In the novel “Maggie: A girl of the Streets” Maggie Johnson grows up amid abuse and poverty in the Bowery neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. Crane gives Maggie no direction, leaving her out on her on. She then “falls in love” with Pete only too soon discover that he is no different from her drunken mother and abusive father. If her relationship with Pete was to be the first kind of love she ever experienced, can you really blame her for becoming a prostitute in hopes that someone else would show her

the “real thing?” If Crane had given her more love and support, along with confidence, she could have survived the community. No one in Maggie’s household really cared about anyone. When Tommie dies, no kind of emotion is shown from any one in the family. When Maggie begins prostitution, no one is really surprised because of the environment that is present during her time on earth. The one person that most children can count on is their mother. Maggie’s mother Mary was not the role model most daughters have. Instead Mary was the cold one, abusing and having addictions in front of her children. The Johnson family didn’t communicate and were not passionate, so when Maggie tried to defy the system, she only ended up hurting herself. Crane’s sympathy was given toward

almost everyone, mainly Maggie because he allowed her to fall. One of the remarkable things about Maggie is that although the novel refuses to blame Maggie, the community still doesn’t forgive her for her mistakes. When she tries to return home her mistakes are exposed more then the environmental factors that lead to her downfall and death. Maggie’s romantic nature doesn’t give her the ability to see the world clearly, and becomes much to blame for her downfall, as are the forces of reality. This is a novel that shows sympathy to the humanity of every one of its characters, with the arguable exception of Mary. The novel recognizes that, to a great extent, these are people brutalized and hardened and victimized by social forces beyond their control. But it is also a novel

that humiliate through showings of cheap pity. Even as it extends sympathy to all its characters, it critiques the injustices they work, their hypocrisy, sentimentalism, ridiculous ideas and attitudes. Maggie is a novel that forgives and seeks to understand even those things that it cruelly exposes. Who is to blame for these tragedies that continue to repeat themselves, tragedies that recycle? Crane’s handling of Maggie is one that is very American. It leaves the reader without closure of the character. After Maggie’s death her mother wants too forgive her, but it is all too late. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s treatment of Hester Prynne was too be expected because of the society she lived in and of course because her “mistake” (Pearl) would be with her always reminding the

community of what she did. Willa Cather is the only author of these three to give her main character, who just happens to be a woman, a positive role within her community despite the tension between the two. (1,318)