Political Ties

The foster motif, “Its All Political,” is extremely relevant to two female leads Hester and Ellen. This motif focuses specifically on self -determination, conformity, power suture, and class relations. Ellen and Hester both have difficulty being viewed as respectable in their culture.In Hester’s society she is looked at as an extreme sinner and society has branded her an outcast. She quite literally lives on the outskirts of the town’s border. Admiration and respect are two things that are unknown to Hester because the town does not show either of them to her. She is viewed as a prime example of what you are not supposed to be. Ellen is the exact same way, for her actions seem to always stun those who share her presence. In Ellen’s society, a woman is not expected to be as forwards thinking and free as she is. This is also a result of her being raised in a culture that was completely different. For instance, when they are at the Van der Luyden’s party, she gets up from one man to go have a conversation with Newland. This is very important because of the cultural norm in America compared to Europe. Simple acts like this convince society that she is not one of their own and is not worth their time. Both Hester and Ellen are excluded from society because of their dissimilarities with the other women in their society. Neither of them get respect simply because they are different.

hesterprynne2.jpgArcher fits this motif in the sense that he struggles with the conformity aspect of society. He is obsessed with what is correct and incorrect form and always second-guesses his thoughts and feelings. An example is when he is trying to convince Ellen to not divorce her husband although he has done her very wrong. Deep down he believes that she should divorce him but because it would not be correct form, he says what he thinks is right. Society controls Newland’s life from beginning to end.   He observes Ellen, who is eccentric, and only wishes for his wife to be like her. Instead, he understands that May is the wife he is supposed to have because that is what society has trained him to believe.  In Newland and Ellen’s society, all people look for is conformity and if you do not conform you are seen as an outsider. Newland see’s how Ellen is treated and decides that is “safer” to continue on conforming. This Foster motif explains that although societies differ, their common ground is that one becomes an outsider by defying the social norm. Ellen, Hester and Newland all share the struggle of societies pressure to be like everyone else.

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