The True Meaning of the Scarlet Letter

1317 WordsSep 23, 20136 Pages
Double standards resonate deeply in “The Scarlet Letter.” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses specific characters to represent many different evils in society. One of these evils, hypocrisy, exists as one of the most important themes in the novel. At very specific and timely points in the book Hawthorne and the Narrator are able to portray fraudulence as the root of why the world seems to fall apart for Dimmesdale. Because of his hypocritical tendencies, Dimmesdale pains the people closest to him; including himself. Even though Pearl was willing to have a relationship with her father, Dimmesdale's heart was not strong enough to fully reveal himself to his own daughter until much too late. “Nay; not so, my little Pearl!” answered the minister; for, with the new energy of the moment, all the dread of public exposure…had returned upon him; and he was already trembling at the conjunction…nevertheless—he now found himself. “Not so, my child. I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother thee one other day, but not to-morrow!”(139). Because of Pearl's perceptiveness, she is able to catch Dimmesdale's hypocrisy every possible opportunity. Throughout the book she seems to be able to point out the obvious flaws in Dimmesdale’s reasoning but even still he continued to suffer by his own hand until the end. In this instance she was able to catch the Reverend in one of his many weak moments; he answers broadly as an excuse for his bad judgment. We see here why the Reverend is remaining silent towards Boston: he is petrified of people finding out that he's imperfect. “And so it is!” said the child [Pearl]. “And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?”(169). Pearl is able to show how odd and still tremendously wise even with

More about The True Meaning of the Scarlet Letter

Open Document