Perception In Scarlet Letter

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Societies’ perception of a person can be very subjective. In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a woman named Hester Prynne has a baby out of wedlock with the minister of the town, Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale feels a tremendous amount of sorrow and guilt in his soul for not publically repenting his sin as Hester Prynne was forced to do. When Dimmesdale does decide to repent, the townspeople choose to turn a blind eye to what happened even though they witnessed it with their own eyes. Hawthorne creates the characters Dimmesdale and the townspeople to show how society only believes something about a person that isn't the whole truth because they want to make that person seem like a good person, even when they find out he’s…show more content…
The witnesses had different interpretations and explanations of what went on that day on the scaffold. One account for what happened included seeing “on the breast of an unhappy minister, a Scarlet Letter... imprinted in the flesh” and the origin of it was said to be that Dimmesdale had “inflicted a hideous torture on himself” the very day Hester Prynne first wore her badge.(309) Others contended that Roger Chillingworth “caused it to appear, through the agency of magic and poisonous drugs”, sometime after Hester Prynne first wore hers.(309,310) By Hawthorne giving us so many different accounts of what had happened on the scaffold that day, he wants to show how people are going to believe and make up all these accounts of what happened even though they may be false. And also, even if one of them is true, no one will ever know because no one was able to ask Dimmesdale what actually happened. I think that a message Hawthorne is trying to send is that people shouldn’t listen to all the stories they hear, or in this day in age read in a magazine, because people bend the truth. Another account of what had happened on the scaffold that day, which is highly different then the two previous ones given, is from the highly respected clergyman's point of view. The witnesses denied “any mark whatsoever on his breast”(310). They also said that his last words never acknowledged or implied “the slightest connection, on his part, with
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