Scarlet Letter

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Sin. Suppression. Society. These are all things that revolved around Hester Prynne in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. By committing adultery, she supposedly sinned and destroyed the "sanctity of the human heart" (Hawthorne 191) leading society to punish her for her crime. Her punishment was the Scarlet Letter, which was brilliantly embroidered across her chest to constantly remind everyone of her crime. Although it did in the beginning, Hester's Scarlet Letter does not only stand for "Adultery", but it evolves throughout the novel from a symbol of her seclusion to her eventual acceptance into society because of her "Ability" to live up to her sin and overcome obstacles. Literally, the A stands for adultery. It openly reveals Hester's sin to everyone and also helps make an example of what will happen when someone tries to go against society and Puritan law. While this might be true, the scarlet letter doesn't only stand for Adultery, its meaning and purpose evolves over time, representing different people as well as ideas as the novel progresses. While at first it does only represent her sin, the A soon begins to show up in Pearl, Hester's daughter. As Johnson stated, "much of the meaning of the scarlet letter resides in Pearl because she is the result of Hester's adultery." This proves that while the A does literally stand for Adultery, it was figuratively represented through Pearl because she was one of the main evidences of Hester's sin. At first, even though she did try to hide the A by "clasp[ing] the infant closely to her bosom" (Hawthorne 50), she forgot that her child was one of the biggest signs of her sin. On the other hand, the A also stands for Dimmsdale, because he was just as much of a sinner as Hester. Although he didn't confess his crime and receive a punishment like she did, Dimmsdale does end up punishing himself and scarring an A on his chest,

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