We are all sinners. Although one may try hard not to sin, all humans eventually succumb at some time or another to sin. While people may not able to avoid the fate which awaits them, the power of free will allows people to decide how they will respond to sin. While some may respond with guilt and regret, others may react with a sense of redemption and a renewed sense of responsibility. Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American author during the 19th century witnessed the power of sin to wreak havoc not only to an individual but a whole community. His novel The Scarlet Letter expresses this very idea by exposing the follies of mankind and the potentially detrimental effects of sin through Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth …show more content…
The townspeople “[began] to look upon the scarlet letter as a token, not of that one sin, for which she had borne so long and dreary a penance, but of her many good deeds since.” This quote exemplifies how sin is not a death sentence for Hester. Through hard work and charity it allowed the rigid Puritan society to see her as something different, and as someone who would not let society define who she was. Hester, thus, was not only able to change herself, but also the image in which society viewed her by working hard to benefit the public. Likewise, the scarlet letter which was supposed to represent sin was instead “fantastically embroidered with gold thread, upon her bosom.” Even though the Puritans may have designated the letter as a representation of sin, Hester’s renewed sense of pride does not want society to define the A for her. Rather Hester wants to define it herself and by doing so she develops responsibility and power over her own actions. Because Hester has the power to change who she is, she also has the power to change what the Scarlet Letter represents. By letting the letter be “embroidered with gold thread” readers are able to see how for Hester sin is not something to be fearful of; furthermore, it allows one to see how Hester has developed into an independent individual who accepts who she is and the situation she is presented with. Hester’s lover unfortunately
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Avenging and vengeful is the man who is wronged! This statement could be applied to several characters throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter, written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Sinful acts are inflicted upon many of the minute cast of characters, which impose a riveting journey for the reader to endure. Even more so are the reactions these prominent characters have toward their anguish and adversities as they heave themselves into the depths of solitariness, self-inflicted agony, and woe. Among these richly intriguing personalities is the town’s sinful stain, Hester Prynne, who has committed adultery; the demon-child, Pearl, who was a product to her mother’s adultery; the unholy clergyman, Arthur Dimmesdale, the other adulterer; and the implacable Doctor, Roger Chillingworth.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, he explores the prodigy of love, crime, and revenge. It revolves around a sinful act of passion that impacts Hester Prynne, an adulteress forced to wear a scarlet letter “A”on her bosom; Reverend Dimmesdale, a respected minister in the puritans community; their daughter, Pearl; and Roger Chillingworth, Hester 's husband. Most of the characters portrayed can be analyzed as embodying both “good” and “evil” qualities. Dimmesdale is especially viewed as an ambiguous character. Dimmesdale’s moral ambiguity comes from his internal conflict between his devotion to the church and the guilt he feels for not receiving blame for his sinful act of co-adultery with Hester.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne presents sin as something that has several tiers and can vary in severity. This is indicated by society's eventual acceptance of Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale's intense self-judgement, and Roger Chillingworth's
She committed the sin in the first place, which is completely against the Puritan beliefs. Hester not only committed the sin but she then decorated the scarlet letter. When she decorated the scarlet letter it was perceived that she was mocking her own punishment. Another good example is that over time the meaning of the scarlet letter “A” began to change. “The letter was the symbol of her calling.
She was so strong and powerful she changed the symbol of iniquity itself. It was the “helpfulness found in [Hester]- so much power to do and power to sympathize- that many people refused to interpret the scarlet ‘A’ by its original signification. They said that it meant ‘Able;’ so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne 152). The scarlet letter was a mark of adultery meant to bring shame and guilt upon those who bore it. Hester lived her life with strength even under the weight of the public eye, that she altered the view of the scarlet letter.
Because she came from a Puritan society, her punishment was especially harsh, but the shame that came as a result of her sin was even harsher. The whispers that she heard when walking through the town enveloped her, and reminded her of her adultery sin. However, by showing the townspeople her work ethic, and her powerful aura, she went from a woman of shame, to a woman of integrity and holiness. She was accepted, to the point where the villagers were able to completely change the perspective that they had about her. Not only did she change but so did the Scarlet letter, it went form meaning sin to “ Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.”
The book the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a book about Hester Prynne a woman living in the 17th century. Hester commits the sinable act of adultery and is punished being forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her bosom. The symbol punishes her as an adultress and marks her shame, making her an outcast in the male dominated society, as she has gone against the strict restrictions society has imposed. So due to this, in regards to John Updikeś claim about Hester, I agree that she is “a mythic version of every woman’s attempt to integrate her sexuality with societal demands” through wearing the scarlet letter. Although the scarlet letter was meant to be a symbol of punishment, it gave Hester liberation from the social norms.
When Hester finally takes off the scarlet letter “A” and her cape in the wilderness, it not only represents the beauty she held despite the emotional punishment she underwent, but it also represents her removing the Puritan and patriarch society holding her back. Hester’s feminist conscious is intricately portrayed throughout the
People in life go through many hardships and challenges, but it is in the way we handle those hardships in which our true character is shown. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne shows his audience many ways to people interpret hardships, and some people do not take them very well. For instance the Reverend Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale 's believes his actions of self-punishment and sin created a world in which he could no longer live a life of truth and holiness. Dimmesdale was a devout Puritan, and because of how hard they were on themselves he believed that he can no longer live a life of happiness.
The Puritan society believes that Hester also represents immorality because of her sin, which causes several townspeople to distance themselves. Whenever Hester enters town, many people notice the scarlet letter that she is forced to display on her breast, and so young "pure" children would soon learn that she was a representation of sin and passion, learning to not stay near her. Hester is unable to go into town without being ridiculed by the townspeople, as she is a living symbol of sin. Puritan children, despite being uninformed about the meaning of the scarlet letter and the sin Hester has committed, impose alienation on her, as the scarlet letter probably frightens and gives a burning sensation to children when near. The alienation that
A Life Undone with a Letter The plot of the Scarlet Letter is based on sin and faults of the characters in this book. Due to the mistakes of Hester and Dimmesdale a child was created and the child violated the law against infidelity. However, the real evil came from Roger Chillingworth, who was altered by his desire for revenge. The Puritans believed that sinning is the nature of mankind.
Generally throughout society people are condemned, punished, and judged for their individual choices and flaws. This can depict the concept of alienation and the way it affects the relationship between an individual and their society. In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's, The Scarlet Letter, sin and guilt play a huge role in the Puritan society during the 17th century. The author uses Hester to show that people who make mistakes will often face consequences that isolate them from their society. Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Hester experiences the effects of isolation and the outcome of sin due to the corrupt rules and strict moral values in the society.
Receiving the scarlet letter changed every aspect of Hester’s life. Especially at the start of the story, the letter symbolized the solitude and great suffering Hester faced just because of a letter placed on her bosom. The “A” also depicted how no one viewed Hester the same way as before her peccant actions. “…she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance” (Hawthorne 109). The pejorative community Hester lived in never saw Hester as the beautiful, young woman she was, but now, as a horrible fiend.
After the discovery of Hester’s sin of adultery, Hester is punished by being taken “out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself”, (Hawthorne, 51), by marking Hester with the Scarlet letter “A” upon her attire. The scarlet “A” is meant to label her as an “Adulterer”. The effect this letter had was significant. After being labeled as an adulterer and publicly humiliated,
The Christian faith is partially based on the concept that sin is imminent, for "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". The Old Testament in the Hebrew Bible portrays this belief through the narrative of Adam and Eve. They were created by God to be flawless but fell short of that expectation; teaching future generations that all humans have imperfections and sinning is inevitable. Likewise, Nathaniel Hawthorne in his novel, The Scarlett Letter, explores these indiscretions and different degrees and interpretations of sin.