Cruelty can be beneficial?
While listening to podcast 4, my attention was grabbed by the idea that Hester actually benefits from her harsh society. How can this be? Well first off, the towns cruelty towards her has formed her into a stronger individual. She was forced to endure pain, ridicule, and humiliation because of her punishment. Hawthorne writes that she was left as a "bare harsh outline," however this does not have to be viewed as a negative. Yes, Hesters compassion and cheer are gone, but what is left of her is strong and able to withstand. She proves her strength by not fleeing town because she refuses to be controlled or beaten by society. Hester is also a wiser person because she has learned to disregard the judgement of her peers. She now seeks approval from God, who really is the only one she needs approval from. Hester is not humbled or broken by the badge she is forced to wear, but instead she gains insight into the way society establishes the identity of individuals.