The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, writes about the psychological effects of hidden sin and guilt. In this novel he writes about three characters who display hidden guilt and numerous sins. A young beautiful woman, Hester, committed the sin of adultery. From that sin, she bore a child with Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale as the Reverend of the Puritan society broke his sacred promise with the Lord and church.
Madam Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me.” | The townspeople in Hester’s day are so appalled by her act they are going to the extreme that instead of wearing an A on her breast she should be branded on her forehead. This shows the religious dedication people had during this time. | I like how you explained the religious aspect this has on the people during the time. The extreme people will go to seems ridiculous. Do you think this may foreshadow in the future of Hester?
Hypocrisy is strongly portrayed in the novel The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the hypocrisy of Puritan society in his novel. The Puritans were judgmental and therefore hypocritical. Being a Puritan means that you are religious and care about everyone no matter what kind of sins they make. In The Scarlet Letter the hypocrisy in Puritan society is well shown.
Because she lived in such a God driven and puritan town, the judicial system of the settlement had decided for her to acknowledge her sin by embroidering a vibrant scarlet letter “A” onto her dress to symbolize adultery. She was often ostracized from the rest of the town since she was forced to wear the crimson “A” everywhere she went. As well as the letter to remind her of the wrong she had done, the affair had left her with a fatherless daughter named Pearl. Later in the novel we discover the father is the Reverend of the town, the admirable Arthur Dimmesdale. Through pain, remorse and agony the novel reveals that it is better to tell a harmless lie then to confess a hurtful truth.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism to convey the theme that evil and good are in the eye of the beholder. The scarlet “A” that Hester is condemned to wear is a material brand of her sin. To the eyes of the community and Hester herself, the “A” is a sign of adultery, penance, and penitence. Although Hester sees it as this, she is not ashamed of her brand. This is demonstrated in the text “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignomity in which she was enveloped” (40).
She constantly made herself useful towards the other people, and used the talents and gifts that were given to change the meaning of her punishment into her becoming he legend of her Puritan Age. Hester Prynne also is protective person in this novel, because she protects Reverend Dimmesdale's name when she was asked who was the father. As well as Hester Prynne always tried to protect her daughter “Pearl”, so she never told her the what really happened and what the “A” meant for Pearl’s benefit. This showed Hester as a protective mother of her child. Hester Prynne’s core quest in this novel was after she had left prison and punished for the sin she had committed.
Pearl was a sort of living symbol of her mother’s scarlet letter. She was the physical consequence of sexual sin. But even as a reminder of Hester’s sin, Pearl was more than a mere punishment to her mother: she was also a blessing. She represented not only “sin” but also the vital spirit and passion that engendered that sin. Hester gave her daughter the name Pearl because she got the baby with all she had, Pearl was her only treasure.
She is wearing this symbol to burden her with punishment throughout her life. She stands on a plank where her punishment is given, "'Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone'"(59). It is because of this one letter that Hester's life is changed. The letter's meaning in Puritan society banishes her from her normal life. The Puritans view this letter as a symbol of the adultery.
This is proven when Hester remarks to herself, "Oh Father in heaven - if thou art still my father - what is this being which I have brought into the world" (Hawthorne 89).Thirdly, Pearl represents the sins of both Hester and Dimmesdale. Proven when, Hester realizes what Pearl represents when she does not hold Pearl up in front of the "A”; she carries the child around because it is a direct reflection of her sin. Hester is, "wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another" (Hawthorne 48). Pearl in many ways is the scarlet letter. First, the scarlet letter amuses Pearl, and also controls her behavior.
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