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.
Hawthorne uses many forms of rhetoric to portray his characters, but relies heavily on pathos in the instance of Hester Prynne. She’s a member of an inherently misogynistic society, and because she’s a woman, her every act is scrutinized. As punishment for her act of adultery, Hester is ordered to adorn her chest with a permanent scarlet letter. Although the audience is well aware of the atrocity of the sin she’s committed, Hawthorne’s writing sparks a feeling of empathy within the reader. Throughout the novel, the reader is exposed to several clear uses of pathos. The scene detailing Hester and Pearl’s time in the Governor's house is just one of Hawthorne’s many appeals to emotion. After entering the home, Pearl notices a polished suit of armor, and calls Hester over to see it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses a multitude of imagery and symbolism to serve as metaphors for different themes in his novel The Scarlet Letter. The theme sin versus guilt, appears often throughout the novel. It is often accompanied by the symbol of the scarlet letter, serving as a constant reminder of the guilt each of the main characters carry, as a result of the sins they have committed.
To begin, Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes pathos throughout his writing to imprint the importance of individual conscience into the reader 's mind. Hawthorne begins the book by having the reader pity the main character, Hester Prynne, as she is a young, husbandless, mother in a society that shames her for her unfortunate circumstances: “haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon” (Hawthorne, 53). The consistent misfortune of Prynne evokes emotion in the reader and stresses the weight of her decisions. Prynne manages her way through such a hostile society -“Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly on your bosom” (Hawthorne, 188)- in a way that is metaphorically applicable to the real world, allowing the reader to truly connect and understand the character for who they are.
Dimmesdale knew that his choice to step back and allow Hester to bear all the punishment was not morally just, and that choice forever ate at him until he revealed his true self. As the guilt grew stronger, he grew sicker and weaker. He was so afraid to ruin his reputation that he would rather suffer in silence. Hawthorne states, “…all the dread of public exposure, that had so long been the anguish of his life, had returned upon him; and he was already trembling at the conjunction in which- with a strange joy, nevertheless-he now found himself. ”(140).
The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 1800s, but the book is placed in the Puritan times of the 1600s. Hawthorne is an anti-transcendentalist, which means he thinks society is good and nature is evil and humans are naturally evil. Puritanism is a very strict religion in the 1600s. If you are a Puritan you are against all earthly pleasure and your life is hell on Earth. Hawthorne uses multiple symbols in The Scarlet Letter, symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols to represent ideas. In this novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbolic significance of the Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth to contribute to the theme of guilt.
How does wearing an A for the rest of your life because of a sin sound? Not only can it be traumatizing and cause effects of guilt and sin. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many characters that experience effects of guilt and sin, but mostly Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale are the ones that experience it the worst. Not only is there internal guilt, but the effects can also take a toll on the overall appearance of someone. Throughout "The Scarlet Letter," there are many obvious effects of sin and guilt throughout the book, where if might affect a person in a bad way.
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
Publicly shaming someone will never get someone to do the right thing. When you publicly shame someone it only shows them everything they have done wrong not what they have done right. This will cause the person to shut down their willpower to change. In addition, It will only show them they are lesser than everyone else for a small mistake and can cause many overpowering thoughts. Last but not least, Publicly shaming someone is not okay because it isolates them from their community making them feel alone. Shaming people in public for crimes they have committed is the worst way to get people to change their actions.
In the “Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays hypocrisy of the Puritan society, where the protagonist Hester Prynne face many consequences of her actions and the how she tries to redeem herself to the society. During the seventeenth puritans believe that it is their mission to punish the ones who do not follow God’s word and it is their job to stop those from sinning. Therefore, the hypercritical puritan society punishes Hester harshly for committing adultery, but in Hester’s mind, she believes that what she did was not a sin but acts of love for her man. Eventually, she redeems herself by turning her crime into an advantage to help those in need, yet the Puritan society still view her as a “naughty bagger.” (Hawthorne 78)
The Hidden Sin and The Revealed Sin As humans, we live in the that are brimming with sins and evil desire. As the creator of all the creatures, God, sent his only son to save the people from the control of devil. The only thing we have to do is to acknowledge our mistake. Bible teach us that we should tell the truth to God and your neighbors, and God will forgive you. But people are worse, they not only hide the sin and their evil behaviors but also try to deny it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous American author from the antebellum period, notices the emphasis on individual freedoms in the works by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists during his residency in the Brook Farm’s community. In response to these ideas, Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter, a historical novel about Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s lives as they go through ignominy, penance, and deprecation from their Puritan community to express their strong love for each other. Their love, even though it is true, is not considered as holy nor pure because of Hester past marriage to Roger Chillingworth, and thus Hester gained the Scarlet Letter for being an adulterer. Hawthorne utilizes biblical allusions, such as the stories of
Hawthorne described three things in The Scarlet Letter. Sin, guilt, and redemption. Hawthorne uses people to symbolize them. Hester Prynne was one. Hawthorne allows the reader to get a better understanding by using biblical references.
Imagine living in a place where one small sin could define who you are for the rest of your life. That is what happened in The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. The novel is set in a seventeenth-century Puritan community in Boston, Massachusetts. A young woman by the name of Hester Prynne commits a small act of adultery and is shamed for the rest of her life, by wearing a scarlet letter “A” on her breast. The book is centered around the theme of justice and judgement.
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.