Hester Prynne: In and Beyond Discipline and Punish



The essay is to explore how Hester Prynne accomplishes subjectivity-construction in the ordinate and harsh puritan community, full of discipline and punish. In the process of the subjectivity-construction, Hester Prynne not only confronts and surpasses the sin and the shadow of her own self, but also transcends and breaks the invisible web of the inhuman and tough regulations filtering in every corner of the puritan community. She accomplishes a near-perfect transformation from a sinning object despised and chastised by all the community members to a new feminine figure who regains their applause, respect and love in the end. Through the heroine’s glorious and admiring transformation, Nathaniel Hawthorne poses a suspicion upon the naive belief on the human nature: genuine and full of smiling aspects, upheld by the transcendentalists and prevailing at his time. He also chastises the inhuman regulations, disciplines and punish of the harsh puritan community which twist and crush the souls of the community members. But more important and inspiring point of the novel lies in that through the heroine’s glorious and admiring transformation and subjectivity-construction, Hawthorne reasserts the shining and glorious human nature of Hester Prynne, which reflects his humane concern towards the ones tortured, disciplined and punished by the prison-like society.


The Scarlet Letter; Hester Prynne; Discipline; Punish; Individuation

Full Text:



Colacurcio, M. J. (1985). New essays on the The Scarlet Letter. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Hawthorne Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Shanghai: WPC, 2008.

James, M. (Ed.) (1987). A Norton Critical edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tales. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Johnson, C. D. (2008). Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A student casebook to issues, and historical documents. Beijing: China Renmin UP.

Lee, A. R. (Ed.) (1982). Nathaniel Hawthorne: New Critical Essays. London: Vision.

Michel, F. (1977). Discipline and punish. tr. Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

Person, L. S. (2007). The Cambridge introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ryskamp, Charks. (1959). The New England sources of The Scarlet Letter. American Literature, 31(3), 257-272.

Selden Raman, et al. (2011). A reader’s guide to contemporary literary theory. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11673


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Na HE

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


Online Submissionhttp://cscanada.org/index.php/sll/submission/wizard


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; sll@cscanada.net; sll@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailoffice@cscanada.net; office@cscanada.org; caooc@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture