Perfection In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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When members of society do not conform, they are often treated differently. Those who are rebels, those who break the rules and do not fit into the status quo, become outcasts to society. These castaways are often avoided, ignored, and disrespected by societal figures. Modern society is easily said to have multiple different expectations for its affiliates, in relation to physical ideals, emotional processes, and intelligence levels. Societies’ essential goals for human life are everywhere; magazines, television, radio, the internet, and even on everyday streets. The pressure to be ‘perfect’ is strong, however very difficult to attain. However, most people, if not all, do strive to be successful in meeting these qualities of perfection, whether …show more content…

Within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, antagonist Hester Prynne is subjected to the opinions and treatment of 17th century’s Massachusetts Bay Colony as a result of her sinful act of adultery. In the Puritan colony, it was important to be faithful, both to thine spouse, and most importantly, to God. Hester’s adultery issued her public ridicule and shunning, and a physical reminder to be forever worn; an embroidered ‘A’ placed upon her bosom. The symbol served to alert all of her faithless act, “It had the affect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (page 74). Throughout the novel, Hester’s treatment is obvious, and she makes many efforts to not let her choice, and her illegitimate child Pearl, define her. She vows to never reveal the name of Pearl’s father, however it is later revealed that he is the ever-so-respected town Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester is more than aware of her exclusion from the groups of the colony, even though she was working to rebuild her name by working and keeping busy, “In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she had inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs than the rest of human kind” (page 108). The judgmental community that Hester is a part of, ceases to affect her actions. She refuses to leave, and raises her daughter the best that she can- with love, respect, without revealing to Pearl what makes her different. The society sees Hester as corrupt, but does not call Pearl the same. Pearl’s name even represents purity, something she definitely was not born of. However, Pearl is able to grow up as normal as possible, though not a lot is said about her life and she does act a bit

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