Scarlet Letter Essay: Importance Of Identity In Puritan Society

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne illustrates the importance of identity in Puritan society. Hawthorne’s use of symbols, metaphors, and other kinds of figurative language allow the reader to feel sympathetic towards the main characters, especially Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne is introduced as a sinner, the most disgusting thing a person could be in Puritan world, and as a result, Hester is forced to wear the scarlet ‘A’. The ‘A’ was originated to stand for adultery, but as time went on Hester realized that the ‘A’ stood for something positive instead of something negative. Hester changed the definition of the letter from adultery to able and angel because that is how she saw herself as. Throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes the main characters to project the concept of self-identification as more important and more powerful than society’s perspective of an individual.…show more content…
The ‘A’ is given to Hester Prynne as a remembrance and punishment of her committing the sin adultery. Hester “for the remainder of her natural life, [must] wear a mark of shame upon her bosom” to constantly remind her and everyone else of the sin (60). When the citizens of the town find out about Hester’s sin they immediately identify her as an undignified, contemptible woman, Hester however doesn’t allow it to get to her, instead she stands on the scaffold tall and proud. Hester’s act of bravery is the first sign of acceptance in identity, it doesn’t matter to her what others saw her as or categorized her as but how she acknowledges herself to
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