The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter Chapter 5 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
In this manner, Hester Prynne came to have a part to perform in the world. With her native energy of character and rare capacity, it could not entirely cast her off, although it had set a mark upon her more intolerable to a woman's heart than that which branded the brow of Cain. (5.8)
Hester may be an outcast, but she's not entirely isolated. She manages to win a place for herself by sheer hard work—although we're not 100% sure why she even bothers. Why would you want to be a part of the community that had cast you out?
In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she had inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs than the rest of human kind. (5.8)
So, Hester, how's that re-integration working out for you? She may have a job and some charity work to keep her busy, but she's not exactly winning any friends. In fact, the Puritans are so busy making sure she knows that she's not part of their little clique that we're surprised they have time to read their Bibles.