Scarlet Letter Guilt Quotes

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Arezu Lotfi Mr. Burd, Block A American Lit 11 November, 2015 Fight or Flight With the inner struggle of guilt, a person can either be redeemed or destroyed. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne Hester Prynne is ridiculed publicly by the Puritan community for adultery. Mr. Dimmesdale, the man Hester cheats with is a young minister in the town, and hides his sin from the community. Together the two have a daughter named Pearl, that Hester raises. Pearl is a constant reminder of their sin, in which Hester holds onto public guilt, and Dimmesdale onto private guilt. Both Hester and Dimmesdale are destroyed by their guilty consciences, but Hester can redeem herself in the town. Dimmesdale continues to be brought down by sin. In the novel …show more content…

Hester Prynne is punished in front of the whole Puritan community, with her daughter Pearl. Together Hester holds baby Pearl in her arms while being publicly ridiculed on a scaffold in the center of the town. To escape the constant mockery from the society, she can easily leave and move to a place where no one knows her sin, and where she would be free to live without punishment. Hester knows she has done wrong though, so she decides to stay where her sin takes place and where her punishment is established. Hester believes “The torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul and work our another purity than that which she had lost.” (Hawthorne, 76). The sin Hester commits is so destructive to her mind, that she thinks the only way she will every be able to live a proper life is if she stays. Hester’s daily abuse from the community will allow her to cleanse her guilty conscience, and redeem herself in the society. Pearl is a continuous reminder of Hester’s guilt, she is the result of her sin. While Pearl grows up Hester is fearful of the child and the darkness she carried with her. Although, to Hester, Pearl’s “Peculiarity...should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being” (85). Again, Hester thinks that if Pearl is abnormal it is due to her sin, and that she must deal with Pearl, to rid herself of her guilt. Not long after Hester is released from prison, …show more content…

Dimmesdale’s guilt from the sin he executed, is not known to anyone besides, Roger Chillingworth and Hester. He is in panic and terror at all moments that the Puritans will discover the sin he has done. Being in such an important position in the Puritan lifestyle, as a minister, he knows the consequences for which his sin will make if publicized. He tries multiple methods to try and rid himself of the guilt. Whenever he feels threatened by the guilt he places “His hand upon his heart,” (65). Another method he uses is “Vigils, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with a glimmering lamp; and sometimes, viewing his own face in the looking glass,” (136). Dimmesdale wants the vigils to help him with his inner guilt, and provide him and an answer to his feelings about himself. His sin began to wither him away. Hester started to notice that “He stood on the verge of lunacy, if he had not already stepped across it.” (157). Even though only one person that he knows of, Hester, knows his sin, he still is going insane from the misconduct he did. Dimmesdale cannot be freed of his private guilt that is driving him crazy. Dimmesdale is noticeable being damaged by the suffering of keeping his guilt private. After Hester and Dimmesdale discuss their plans to runaway together, in the woods, Dimmesdale returns to the town with a new attitude. He grasps the

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