Essay on Similarities and Differences Between Hester Prynne and Edna Pontellier

Words: 973
Pages: 4

There are many similarities and differences between Hester Prynne and Edna Pontellier. Although The Scarlet Letter and The Awakening were written in different times and tell the story of dissimilar communities in which both main protagonists need to break the rules governing the society in order to explore their inner selves and fulfill individual desires.

What both women share is the fact that they had troubles to find themselves among the people they lived with and accept the rules of the community. What is more Hester, as well as Edna, came from different backgrounds than Puritan or Creole and entered them because of the act of marriage. Hester was born in England and Edna was raised in a Presbyterian family in Kentucky. Hester’s
…show more content…
Edna in contrast, having a lot of money from her husband spent it indulging herself. It may be explained by the fact that they lived in very different societies. The poverty was common in Puritan Colony and Edna lived among rich people.

The community of Creoles was more liberated than XVII c. Puritans from Boston. Despite the adulteress affair and pregnancy Hester outwardly acted like a conformist. Her inner thoughts and desires were rebellious but she behaved like the rest of the settlers. Edna on the other hand inwardly and outwardly acted in non-conformist manner in opposition to Hester not being threatened by legal repercussions.

It also seems that Hester was mentally stronger than Edna. Unhappy and unfulfilled she lived with people that did not accept her, hoping that one day she and her lover would leave America and create a family in Britain. Unfortunately, her dreams never came true but until she died she lived among people who had ostracized her and managed to change their minds about the letter on her chest from “adulteress” to “able”. Hester brought hope for social relaxation. Edna dreaming and fantasizing about Robert – the man that she truly loved – was unable to continue her life knowing that they can not be together. After their romantic reunion in The Pigeon House Robert left Edna a note informing her that although he loves her, he needs to leave. Devastated and depressed she did not want to live in a lie and seeing no other option for her