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.
When you think of a Puritan society, what comes to your mind? Perfect, flawless, and a religion based on following God? Well, that is what it says on paper, but is it really that perfect? Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne jabs at the Puritans in an attempt to portray just how flawed they really are. After reading the book, you want to think that Hawthorne is telling the story of sinning in a Puritan society.
Scarlet “A” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter there is no other vigorous personality like Hester Prynne. Hester was made out to be a shameful person who would never be pardoned of her sin. Hester is an empty puritan woman who commits adultery with a minister and has a daughter from her deceitful union. She goes through wearying passage from sin to salvation, but always seem to find her identity.
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
The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, contains the motif of a red letter “A” that brings the story to life. The scarlet letter is an embroidered symbol which incorporates power in the novel. The scarlet letter upon Hester's bosom evolved and developed from something negative to something positive; from Hester, the villagers, Pearl, and Hawthorne, the views of the scarlet letter changed drastically. The letter “A” was intended to punish Hester Prynne, but instead, Hester made the punishment both beautiful and elaborate.
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the Scarlet letter to display the sin and indecency people see Hester as. The detail represents ,the deep beauty Hester has inside although most people do not see her as a beutiful women. The deep red is a representation of adultery which shows her being an oncast from society. The symbol of the letter “A” is repetitive throughout the novel and grows with Hester and overcomes this with time as people start to see her as a person again and not just a adulterer. Hester acknowledges her sin in her puritan faith but swears to secrecy on the father of Pearl.
Pearl is an Impish child that people believe to be the impish devil’s spawn. She is the sole company of the scarlet letter’s host, her mother Hester. She is the sole company of Hester, who is her mother and the scarlet letter’s host. Both Hester and Pearl are alienated from their community due to Hester’s sin and are treated with hostile when Hester first became an adulterer. But as time passes, the clear line of a sin and respect begin to blur. Hawthorne shows the reader how Hester, who is being consumed by her sin, finds her purpose in her little Pearl.
This essay will discuss how the symbol “A” or the Scarlet Letter is represented in three different interpretations in the novel. In the novel The Scarlet Letter the letter “A” was originally intended to be a punishment for the main character Hester Prynne. She committed adultery as was branded with the “A” as public humiliation. Although she was branded as an adulteress, she continued to help others.
Although she is looked down upon by the society in the beginning of the novel, she is transformed into a symbol of strength, something typically reserved for men, towards the end of the novel. “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her,—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 146). Through her suffering, Hester had become an inspiring symbol of strength for the community.
These characteristics are brought forth by the scarlet letter. It is these same aspects of Hester that enable her to keep her sanity during her arduous time spent in isolation. Therefore, even though the scarlet “A” brings Hester great pain and suffering, it also transforms her in a way that allows her to withstand the burden that is brought on by the disgraceful symbol. As told by the narrator, "The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude!
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne pinpoints various effects of sin on individuals within a strict, Puritan society. To shed a negative light on Puritan attitudes toward sin and lack of forgiveness, Hawthorne paints vivid pictures of freedom and imprisonment, relief and regret, through the juxtaposition of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and the characterization of the two lovers. Hester undergoes major character growth through her years bearing the scarlet “A,” "so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom," introduced in the narrator’s shifting viewpoint of the young mother. The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale on the other hand, shoulders his guilt, in spite of the physical manifestation of his inner turmoil in his
Hawthorne cleverly uses the main characters name for an opportunity for symbolism naming her Hester which is very similar to Hestia the Greek goddess of hearth, agriculture, and the right ordering of domesticity the family and the state of Greek mythology(Lei 2164). By doing this Hawthorne is comparing her to a goddess that had a substantial amount of admiration. The scarlet letter A is one of the most symbolic items in the book, because of this solely letter Hester is able to grow and become the woman she is that aids others and loves all. The reason behind this is because of the letter
There are various examples of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter, but one of them wraps the whole story together: the meaning of the scarlet letter A. In this passage, Hester Prynne wears an embroidered letter A on her bosom as punishment. At first the A stood for “adulterer”, but the townspeople later gained respect for her and said “Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original significance. They said it meant ‘Able’” (Hawthorne 107).
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne explores recurring themes of suffering surrounding the main characters, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester and Dimmesdale both commit adultery with each other, and, as a result of this, both experience gruesome and occasionally unbearable forms of suffering. Though they undergo different forms of pain, both of their experiences are highly reliant on how the Puritan society treats them. Hester 's pain stems from the shame and estrangement she receives from the community, while Dimmesdale’s is due to the reverence with which the community regards him. Although, in spite of the fact that both Hester and Dimmesdale receive harsh penalty for their sin, by the end of the book, Hawthorne shows how their suffering is, in fact, the key to their salvation. The hardships and punishments of both Hester and Dimmesdale, while difficult to endure at the time, were eventually beneficial and allowed them to free themselves from the Puritan community and escape their pain.