Sin And The Sinner In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

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Sin and the Sinner
The Puritans were a fairly extreme religious sect, seen as radical even by 17th century England’s standards. Seeking a better life, many sailed to New England. They formed a characteristically harsh and hypocritical society. The Puritans punished sins harshly, punishments that certainly would not be permitted today. This is the society Hawthorne portrays in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne faced one such discipline, in the form of a scarlet ‘A’ for adultery. She is forced to wear this letter upon her clothing, and made a social exile. Despite these harsh punishments, Hawthorne believed that keeping the sin to yourself was even worse. Hawthorne proved through Hester and Dimmesdale that hiding sin, above all, has a negative effect on the sinner; and that revealing sin will free you.
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Following Hester’s punishment at the stands, Hawthorne wrote, “Every gesture, every word, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she inhabited another sphere” (58). Despite these social ramifications, Hester sought to become a better person. Eight years after receiving the scarlet letter, the townspeople perceived Hester differently. Because of Hester’s desire to help the community, the town now views her as a force for good. Hawthorne explained that, “[The town] said that [the scarlet letter] meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne” (111). Through her persecution, Hester became stronger. Had she hid her sin, this may never have
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