Happiness Examples In Scarlet Letter

Good Essays
For as long as humans have existed, they have had struggles with happiness. The Scarlet Letter outlines one common human struggle with happiness. This passage from the Scarlet Letter takes place in the forest after Hester has gone to tell Dimmesdale, her former lover, about Chillingworth, her ex-husband. Chillingworth has been torturing Dimmesdale for the past 7 years, in order to punish him for committing adultery with Hester, Chillingworth’s wife. Hester did not tell Dimmesdale about this fact and at first he does not forgive her for not disclosing the truth. After, he does forgive her and Hester takes off the Scarlet Letter. In this passage and at other instances in the novel, Hawthorne raises the question of where is happiness found.…show more content…
Previously to this passage, the sunlight would not shine on Hester when Hester was wearing the Scarlet Letter. As soon as Hester takes off the scarlet letter, a symbol of the Puritan community, her hair is described as “with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance”(186). The light is reclaiming Hester now that she has truly separated from the Puritan community. The last time that the sunlight claimed Hester in this way was when she was on the scaffold and separate from the Puritan community, however, she was not happy then. In the passage, Hester is described with words associated with light, such as “beamed”, “radiant”, and “glowing”(186). Hester is described as being a part of the light, which juxtaposes previous descriptions of the Puritans who are dark, somber, and extremely separated from the light. After Hester takes off the letter, she is not the only thing that changes. In reflective of Hester’s actions, “...forth burst the sunlight, pouring a flood into the obscure forest”(186). The sunlight is illuminating and overcoming the darker forest. Similarly, Hester overcame her struggles against Puritan oppression. The light imagery used by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows that after Hester escapes from Puritan social constructs and is in the wilderness, she is able to find
Get Access