Societal Pressures In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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The exploration of societal pressures. Life can be separated into two equal parts totally independent from one another. The inner self, being the innermost thoughts and feelings of the individual, and the outer self, how the individual decides to conduct itself around the others in society. Often times one of these parts takes control of the other, suppressing its partner. The suppression is often not of equal frequency because of the obligation humans feel to be liked and to fit in causes the outermost self to be given the most thought and worry. Eventually the suppression of the inner self builds a desire to express the individual’s true feelings. The urge to express oneself is at its core, a right, and is not unlike one of the most…show more content…
With “The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite Relief! She had not known the weigh until she felt the freedom! … All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest gladdening each green leaf transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees.” (199). The sunlight entering the dark forest casting joy and rejuvenation upon the shadows parallels the emotions that come with casting something off that has defined her for so long. The relief is felt within Hester when the conflict is resolved between social obligations and personal feelings. The release Hester feels comes from and end of fighting her responsibility to the community by wearing the scarlet letter and being defined by her sin. All her life in the puritan community had been a struggle to keep her spirited personality against the community trying to brand her as a bad person and once she is free from the community’s judgements, represented by the letter, the pleasure felt comes from the release of her life long

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