Transformation In The Scarlet Letter

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Scarlet Letter Essay
Daniele Young
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, exposes the pain of sin and separation and the promise of forgiveness and renewal. The scarlet letter itself becomes the method in which this transformation is revealed. Initially the scarlet letter “A” represents the sin of adultery and Hester Prynne must wear it as a form of punishment, but later people begin to attribute words like “able” and “angel” to the letter. Hester’s ultimate redemption and perseverance to build a new life and give to charity end up altering the letters meaning.
At the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne was branded as an adulteress. The townspeople believed that Hester was evil and dangerous to anyone who befriended her. As a result, …show more content…

The puritan colonists claimed to have seen the letter A take the shape of a red flashing meteor in the sky on the night when Governor Winthrop died. They immediately interpreted the letter A as meaning angel. “But did your reverence hear of the portent that was seen last night? A great red letter in the sky,—the letter A,—which we interpret to stand for Angel.” (Chapter 12) The novel mentioned the letter A as meaning angel but did not specifically indicate Hester’s scarlet letter A. However, it was implied that Hester possessed certain angelic qualities. She was charitable and had a countenance that was radiant and reflected a heart filled with kindness and generosity. From giving her money to making clothes and food for the poor, Hester was seen constantly helping others. In chapter eighteen Hester was described as being in an angelic state in which she including her scarlet letter were glowing. Her angelic state of glowing represented her repentance “...dark and rich, with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance, and imparting the charm of softness to her features… A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale.” (Chapter 18) It was evident that the townspeople saw a change in Hester. She became a contrite person that showed tremendous humility. Hester received forgiveness of her sin and made others want to question their own

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