Secrets In The Scarlet Letter

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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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