Guilt In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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Many readers notice Hester’s surprising reaction to the life she has come to face and the punishments placed upon her. The audience is able to determine that Hester has come to terms with her punishments beginning to accept them. However the narrator clearly establishes that many of the people closest to Hester were the ones inflicting the most guilt onto Hester’s life. Pearl the product of her sin and Roger Chillingworth the man she cheated on both impact Hester’s life the most. Imposing an immense amount of pain and guilt in Hester’s life in similar ways due to the fact that they are a constant reminder of the mistakes Hester has made. Similarly Pearl and Chillingworth both indirectly impact the amount of guilt Hester feels. For example Pearl makes life harder for Hester by giving attitude to the rest of the puritan children in the society. Also by constantly making Hester question whether or not Pearl was consumed by the devil because of the way she dismisses the beliefs of her community. Showing that even though Pearl wasn’t attacking Hester directly or questioning…show more content…
Not only does Hester feel bad for the pain she caused them, but she also has to live with the guilt that she can’t tell them the whole truth. She continues to hide the identity of the father from both Chillingworth and Pearl which makes life much harder for Hester. Hester says “What questions are those? There are so many things in this world that a child must not ask about. what no eye of the minister's heart? And as for the scarlet letter, I wear it for the sake of its gold thread.” (page 177). Hester responds to Pearl by saying this because Pearl keeps asking many questions about the letter and why it is there. Hester instead of telling Pearl the truth she continues to keep it from her, and with no one else to talk to Hester has to deal with all the guilt on her
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