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The robust and Righteous Hester of The Scarlet Letter "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us," stated Oliver Wendell Holmes. This finally proves to be especially accurate for Hester Prynne, the major character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne, a fair young maiden whose husband had disappeared two decades before the opening of the novel, has an affair with the pastor of her Puritan church, leading to the birth of her kid Pearl. Because of this act of adultery, Hester Prynne is branded with the scarlet letter "A," that she's forced to forever wear upon her clothes. The plot thickens as Hester's former husband returns to New England and becomes fixated upon the idea of revenge towards Hester's anonymous partner in sin. At the same time, the feeble pastor slowly begins to waste away towards the gloomy gates of death. However, as people around her grow poorer or morally decayed, Hester grows ever stronger. Hester grows so strong and morally righteous it seems that she is actually preferred by Hawthorne despite her "sin." The attributes that cause Hester to be favored are her traits of helpfulness towards others, her intense maternal love towards Pearl, and her defiance and pride demonstrated towards those who attempt to impose their values . Even as those assisted were cruel towards her, Hester remained generous and helpful towards others. For example, after becoming recognized as a gifted seamstress and slowly starting to earn quite huge sums of money, "Hester bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable than herself, and who not unfrequently insulted the hand that fed them." ...