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In this time period, women are treated as inferior beings to men. Hester however, contrasts Puritan standards as she is portrayed as a strong and independent woman. While all of the women are obedient and submissive, Hester lives without a male figure telling her what to do and therefore is capable of making her own decisions. Unlike the rest of the women she is surrounded by, Hester provides for herself and Pearl in her job as a seamstress. Hester’s lack of a male figure proves how extremely unique she is in there community but also how she is very self-sufficient and does not need the support of a man to be successful. 

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Despite the fact that Hester is entirely capable of supporting herself and Pearl, she is still looked down upon by her community. An example of this is when Pearl is being taken away from Hester. The reason for this is because male authorities in the town believe that Hester does not have the ability to care for Pearl properly and that she would be better taken care of by anyone other than Hester (Hawthorne). By saying this, Hester is patronized, insulted, and belittled by someone who does not even understand her situation. He is discrediting Hester’s ability to care for Pearl. Furthermore, it is also insulting to her intelligence if he truly believes that his one attempt of persuasion will be enough to let Pearl be taken away from her. This shows how men during this time believed in female inferiority; they should listen without question. 

However, these demeaning opinions of her ironically grant Hester the ability to govern her own life, free from the rigid constrictions of the patriarchal society in which she lives. Hester’s rejection of the Puritan society is what makes her one of the strongest characters on the show. Hester’s power comes simply from her existence as an independent woman in Puritan society; she has rejected the role of femininity by refusing to abide by its standards and be a submissive wife. In doing this, she redefines femininity. 

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