Shame In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Stacey Haslam Ms. Stosich English 2A 28 September 2013 Shame in The Scarlet Letter Legal sentences are used in a variety of ways. In one particular book entitled The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character, Hester Prynne, suffers from a legal sentence. The physical scarlet letter that she must tolerate is a form of legal sentence that not only punishes Hester but prevents her from committing her sin again, satisfies the public’s demand for justice, and allows restitution and reparation for Hester. The scarlet ‘A’ on Hester’s chest is a very effective form of legal sentence in that it generates enough guilt that Hester would never want to commit her crime again. “Thus the young and pure would be taught to look…show more content…
If you lived in Puritan society as characterized by The Scarlet Letter, there’s no difference between God’s law and man’s law. The combination of church and state creates an intolerant religious society. For the people in the community, an even public humiliation isn’t enough and believe that ‘…At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead…’” (45). They think that public shame is still too merciful. The community’s final judgment is Hester’s tombstone which reads “‘On a field, sable, the letter A, gules.’”(205). This just goes to show that the people of the community still define her by her sin and her punishment is to be marked by the letter ‘A’ even in her…show more content…
It is a way for Hester to make up for her wrong doing and a way for her to look inside herself and change something about her. It is the letter that makes Hester feel at fault and once she removes it she heaves “…a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit”(159). The letter holds all the guilt and blame that Hester feels so that when she takes off the letter, the shame is removed with it. Hester also truly feels guilty about what she’s done because she feels sorry for her daughter, Pearl. Pearl often is looked upon as a child of a sinner and Hester sees the way other children treat her. This only adds to the fault and guilt that Hester feels which leads to Hester’s restitution and

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