Secrets, secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone. Whether a secret is out in the open or kept internally, the practice of keeping secrets is a part of human nature. Some secrets can be brief, embarrassing moments that are not remembered or agonized over, but others are haunting. A secret is defined as something that is kept unknown or unseen by others. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the secrets of sin show the differences in multiple perspectives of how people deal with their inner mysteries. The continuing theme of secrets impacts the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of a character’s personality. The time period is important to note and holds a great deal of importance. The act of committing adultery during the time of Colonial America is especially devilish …show more content…
Sacvan Bercovitch gave a talk in 1996 titled “The Scarlet Letter: A Twice-Told Tale,” he discusses how the secrets impact Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. He clarifies that part of the reason this secret is challenging on both characters is because of the weight the Puritan society places on it. Hester is ridiculed for her adulterous act and Dimmesdale is unable to profess his love due to the restrictions placed upon him. If Dimmesdale is to confess what he did, he would surely be punished (Bercovitch 12). Hester and Dimmesdale’s grief is a direct outcome of the unforgiving implications that the Puritans put on adultery. By choosing to embrace her actions, Hester flourishes and presents the scarlet letter with a new meaning. Hester has no way of hiding her sins like Dimmesdale since she is pregnant. Hester’s punishment was to stand for three hours on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life. Initially, the people of the Boston were cold and scorned Hester for her sins. One resident eventually attempts to end the mocking of Hester, shouting “’[n]ot
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In addition, Dimmesdale fells guilt even though he still does not confess. Narrator says, “The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne’s bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her” (narrator 154). This ruins Hester life. People in her town wanted her to leave the town or be punished such as wear a big red A on her bosom for the rest of her life.
Sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. Despite the moral principles recognized in everyone, it is so often that individuals succumb to the instant gratification of sin. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the plot is centered around a group of Puritans living in Boston Massachusetts, where the avoidance of sin is one of their most absolute doctrines. He truly captures how sin affects individuals in a strict civilization through the use of various rhetorical devices, focusing on the symbolism of the characters, the distinct tone employed to convey specific messages, and the analogies further that emphasize and develop the effects of sin on individuals.
Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates the Puritan community as judgemental. Naturally, humans attempt to hide their mistakes and imperfections from the world. The protagonists of the story battle with concealing their feelings of shame from the town. Hawthorne shows that self-isolation will inevitably lead to the destruction of one’s character, suggesting that those who admit to their sins are able to thrive. He accomplishes this by contrasting character changes between Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, and Hester Prynne.
Even after hiding the sin for years Dimmesdale mentions God is merciful and gives him grace so he can achieve salvation. Hester, on the other hand, becomes redeemed in a dissimilar way than Dimmesdale. Hester’s open confession and her redemption is the way she lived her life with the scarlet letter. She lives on the outskirts of town and keeps her head low to separate herself from society. Hawthorne uses multiple voices and the redemption of Dimmesdale and Hester to show how one can be redeemed from
This sin, a sin of passion, unites them as one. Dimmesdale has lived his life for the past 7 years with terrible guilt, for he has only confessed his sin to God. His parishioners think he speaks as if “a tongue of Pentecost were speaking”(Hawthorne, 188).Dimmesdale has been holding on to his sin alone, while Hester wears it openly, for the Scarlet Letter is indeed a sign of her guilt and shame to anyone who sees her. Hester knows that they both need to leave in order to do God’s will in another place. Hester knows that Dimmesdale will be able to, “Preach! Write!
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter depicts the flaws in the human nature of both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. Although each character possesses their own belief and values, both played their part in the sin committed. However, there is always a cause for an individual’s wrong doing and in the case of both Hester and Dimmesdale it, “had been a sin of passion, not principle, nor even purpose” (Hawthorne 152).
He gestures her to be quiet and not to reveal his identity as her husband. She is questioned by many about who the father of her baby is, the governor and eldest clergy man have Reverend Dimmesdale to reveal the father, and she refuses. I feel that Hester has shown courage and strength but society views her as sinful and evil and even though society has shunned and condemns her. While Dimmesdale has shown cowardness and weakness but society views him as righteous. After refusing she is giving a punishment of three hours on the scaffold, a lifetime of wearing the scarlet letter on her chest and put back in her jail cell. The Scarlet Letter emphasizes the fact that the only opinion that matters should be
In this book, Hawthorne details an elaborate story showing the consequences of confessing sins in contrast to concealing it. A sin weighing down on you and destroying you from the inside out is a moral consequence and, the only remedy is confessing the sin. This notion can be seen in the difference between Hester and Dimmesdale with how they handled the scarlet letter and the effects of that. Hester had worn her scarlet letter out for the public to see from the very beginning. She the subject of a lot of the town’s scrutiny.
During the early 1600’s, Puritan groups migrated from Europe to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish a settlement based around very strict religious beliefs. The Scarlet Letter is set in this time period and settlement where it was considered a horrendous sin to commit adultery. Hester Prynne engaged in sexual relations with the minister, Dimmesdale, which resulted in a child named Pearl. This novel highlights Hester’s struggle to raise her child and protect herself from the societal attacks thrown at her, while overcoming the label bestowed upon her by society. In, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses specific diction, repetition, and denotative diction in order to convey the purpose of overcoming labels and protecting one’s image.
Similarly, Dimmesdale envies the closure that Hester’s punishment has brought her: “‘Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly open your bosom! Mine burns in secret!’” (151). In this dialogue, Dimmesdale articulates how differently their sin has been treated. In Hester’s case, public punishment initially brought disapproval, but eventually led her to charity and a general acceptance by members of the society.
In Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne commits adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale. From this union, a child is born, and so the story revolves around how the child grows up, and the conflicts Hester faces because of her actions. “With these words she advanced to the margin of the brook, took up the scarlet letter, and fastened it again into her bosom… Hester next gathered up the heavy tresses of her hair and confined them beneath her cap. As if there were a withering spell in the sad letter, her beauty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed like fading sunshine, and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her.”
Hester was sentenced to wear the scarlet letter "A" for the rest of her life and Hester was forced to stand on the scaffold, so she could be publicly humiliated for her sin. Hester and Pearl will go through life, being shamed by others. The townspeople want to see Hester suffer. Hester and Pearl are strong enough to receive the looks and the talks that they will be getting from the
OUTLINE INTRODUCTION In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, many people in this community committed a form of sin but hides it due to the consequences. Publicly shamed for committing adultery, Hester must live with a scarlet A on her chest for the rest of her life, but the other person that commits adultery with Hester cannot say a word due to his place in the community. THESIS STATEMENT: Due to his place in the Puritan community, Dimmesdale cannot say a word about committing adultery with Hester, which affects him and Hester and Pearl.
Therefore, he is guilty throughout his life, and he is atoned. Unable to surmount, he confesses and dies on the scaffold. Later, Hester comes back to Boston and continues her job. When she dies, she is buried next to her loved one, with both sharing one scarlet letter
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. Hester, throughout the beginning and middle of the book, is forced to face alienation and humiliation from her town, though by the end of the book, she is able to use her punishment to set her free from her society. First, Hester reflects on the effect of her sin, and realizes, “ . . . the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul . . .” (72).