Scarlet Letter

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Punishment in The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, physical punsihment is nothing compared to how the mind can cause punishment. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Phynne is isolated by the members of Purtian society and left with her child Pearl, a constent reminder of her sin. Dimmesdale’s choice to not feese up to his sin leaves him with mental punishment that makes him sicker and weaker. Chillingsworth does not receive pain, but he does inflict pain to those around him. The main characters of The Scarlet Letter are left to tourment by themselves, the worst punishment of them all. Hester’s punishemt for her sin is more mental then physical. Punishment for adultery during the time of the Purtians was usually death. Hesters is spared this punishment and is left to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest of the rest of her life. As a result of this punishment, Hester is isolated by society and left with no one but Pearl. This is the equvilent of a child being sent to the “conner”, where the only thing to do is think about the wrong that has been committed. To add to this personal torment, she is left with Pearl who just reminds her even more of her sin. The first thing Pearl notices is the A that she constently touches. Pearl even asks one day if she too will also where an A like her mother. This comment breaks Hester’s heart and adds to her growing metal pain. Pearl even asks who her father is , she states “Tell me, then, what thou art, and who sent thee hither. Tell me, mother!”. This too also hurts Hester knowing that she can’t tell Pearl who her father is and she will not be like the other children. Thoughout the book Hester is left to deal with the constent reminder that she is no longer a pure indivdual and sinful. Dimmesdale is the character that is left with the most pain caused by mental punishment. By keeping this secret

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