Individuality is the sum of qualities that characterize and distinguish one person from another. This is what defines a person. Disregarding one’s individuality means not taking one for oneself. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, he discusses this similar idea of regarding one’s true self. Hawthorne proves that in order to be truly free, one must determine ones own moral code and live with it regardless of the condemnation of society.

Hester, the protagonist of the novel, is truly free, because she lives with her moral code even though society shows disapproval of her. Throughout the novel, Hester shows honesty and acceptance of her sin of adultery. Hester lets the townspeople see the letter “A” on her chest. It is sewn on a “fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread, appeared the letter A” (50). Her badge, which is sewn ornately and selectively in a particular gold thread, exposes her sin of adultery clearly. It also shows that she acknowledges her sin and that she is open and honest. After being released from prison, she is free to leave Boston, but decides to remain there. Hester explains that “Her sin, her ignominy, were the roots which she had struck in the soil” (74). Providing a reason for her mature decision, this shows that she is free since she is not under any pressure or is forced to make this choice. Hester’s decision to stay in Boston and bare the rebuke from the people shows that she is true to herself. She lives with her moral code despite of society’s condemnation. In both cases, she holds her moral code of honesty and acceptance. Therefore, she is able to be free of guilt, since she has no hidden secrets about herself.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, the character of Hester is depicted as someone who is truly free because she lives according to her own moral code, regardless of society's disapproval. By analyzing the text, we can see how Hester's individuality and adherence to her beliefs contribute to her freedom.

One way Hester demonstrates her individuality is through her honesty and acceptance of her sin. She prominently displays the letter "A" on her chest, symbolizing her adultery. The description of the letter as being sewn on fine red cloth surrounded with gold-thread embroidery shows that Hester acknowledges her sin without hiding it. This honesty reflects her commitment to living with integrity, even when faced with societal condemnation.

Furthermore, Hester's decision to remain in Boston after being released from prison illustrates her independence of thought. Although she has the option to leave and escape the scrutiny and judgment of the townspeople, she chooses to stay. By saying that her sin and disgrace are "roots which she had struck in the soil," Hester implies that she sees her presence in Boston as an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. This decision is a testament to Hester's strength and her unwillingness to be defined by society's dictates.

By choosing to live openly and honestly, Hester is able to be true to herself and live by her own moral code. She does not succumb to the pressure of conforming to societal expectations or suppressing her true identity. In doing so, she frees herself from the burden of guilt, as she has no hidden secrets or shame.

Therefore, Hester's example in The Scarlet Letter serves as a reminder that true freedom comes from determining one's own moral code and living by it, regardless of societal condemnation. This concept of embracing one's individuality and staying true to oneself remains relevant and telling even in our modern society.