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.

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