Looking at the situation from a different perspective, it seems that Hester has two scarlet letters to burden her for the rest of her life. The beautifully embroidered one that will forever be placed on the chest of her clothing, and the physical living letter that embodies her daughter Pearl. Even though Pearl Prynne is a secondary character in this novel, she still plays an essential role in the plot. As she is the reasoning for the scarlet letter, without her none of this would’ve happened.
Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time.
Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne exposes the blindness of the Puritan people through the treatment of Hester, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale’s external characters. Hester Prynne is labeled as an adulteress and mistreated by society because of their unwillingness to see her true character. Chillingworth, the husband of Hester, leads the town to believe he is an honorable man and skillful doctor, when his true intents root from his vindictive nature Finally, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester’s lover and the father of her baby, acts as the perfect man therefore the town views him as an exemplar model, while he is truly a sinner.
The syntax in The Scarlet Letter mimics the previously mentioned dark yet romantic and descriptive tone of the novel. Maintaining its seriousness and formality, Hawthorne uses additions such as imagery, personification, metaphor, and symbolism to keep the book’s underlying flowery and romantic storyline. This complex writing style required Hawthorne to utilize very long and illustrative sentence structure. His dedication to detail is seen in his use of comparison to portray both beauty and ugliness. In fact, the only time we see short and choppy sentences is character dialogue and conversation. The effect that Hawthorne is attempting to create is one of dramatic story-telling. Almost over describing every aspect, Hawthorne preserves his fluidity
Hester is accused of being unfaithful to her husband, Roger Chillingworth, despite his absence from her life for a long period of time. During one of Roger’s extended absences, Hester conceives a child born out of sin with Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale is a local holy man and is never exposed for his sin, while Hester is frequently mistreated, and eternally punished with a scarlet “A” marked on her clothing to represent Adulterer. Hester talks about wearing the “A”, and resents the fact that it may be pointed at as a sign of weakness. Hester says, “giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion” (91 Hawthorne).
Consequently, Arthur Dimmesdale is the cause of Hester Prynne's shame for he is the man whom Hester loves. No one knows he is the father of Pearl, Hester won't say and he isn't strong enough to speak up. He struggles with this knowledge that Hester is being punished and not him. The only truth that continued to give Mr. Dimmesdale a real existence on this earth was the anguish in his inmost soul, and the undissembled expression of it in his aspect, (Hawthorne 142). Being a minister of God the citizens look up to him, and he feels guilty about his hidden sin.
“And the infectious poison of that sin had been thus rapidly diffused throughout his moral system” (Hawthorne 174). In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale serves as the holiest person many people meet in their moral lifetime, and as the purest embodiment of God’s word. However, Dimmesdale has a wounding secret, a cancer, that tears his soul apart throughout his time in America. Dimmesdale falls prey to sin in a moment of passion with Hester, resulting in her condemnation by the townspeople, and the birth of their child, Pearl. For years, Dimmesdale’s life is defined by an internal conflict - his job demands his purity in the eye of the townspeople, but he desires the acceptance of herself that Hester achieves through her sin being made public.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a novel that focuses on sin in the Puritan society. Hawthorne revolves the theme around the four main characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth., and Pearl. Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’ after committing adultery against her husband Roger Chillingworth, with the minister Arthur Dimmesdale. As a result an odd child is born.
Within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, antagonist Hester Prynne is subjected to the opinions and treatment of 17th century’s Massachusetts Bay Colony as a result of her sinful act of adultery. In the Puritan colony, it was important to be faithful, both to thine spouse, and most importantly, to God. Hester’s adultery issued her public ridicule and shunning, and a physical reminder to be forever worn; an embroidered ‘A’ placed upon her bosom. The symbol served to alert all of her faithless act, “It had the affect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (page 74). Throughout the novel, Hester’s treatment is obvious, and she makes many efforts to not let her choice, and her illegitimate child Pearl, define her.
Anti-Transcendentalism, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who many of his novels (or “romances,” to him) were dark, twisted but held a shimmer of light and hope within them. A particular novel, one of which is considered a great piece of American Romantic literature, The Scarlet Letter, due to its story line being set in the remote past of the Puritan era, focuses on the strict laws of the Puritan society and the battle for love, happiness, and acceptance in an anti-Puritan situation. Throughout the novel it becomes evident that this Puritan society is filled with corruption. However, in a way to brighten the dark and twisted storyline that is The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the truth that is reflected in the surrounding nature as a way to convey an overall mood of select chapters, a way to describe the characters
Often times, we interpret a novel at its face value, only reading the text on the page instead of really delving into the true meaning behind that text. Since that meaning is not explicitly stated, different readers can develop different interpretations of the same text. This idea of repeated hidden meanings throughout a novel is classified as a motif, and most of the time motifs are used in order to subtly convey ideas to the reader through seemingly plain text. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses motifs and symbols to convey subtle ideas, one example being his harsh criticism of Puritan culture. One of the most prominent motifs in his novel is the Black Man, an imaginary being who Hawthorne equates to the devil. Hawthorne employs
Throughout the book, Pearl is shown as a symbol of Hester's sin. In The Scarlet Letter, it says “But she named the infant “Pearl”, as being of great price, purchased with all she had, her mother's only treasure!”(Hawthorne 81). This is showing that Hester loves Pearl, but feels bad that she has to live her life being the product of sin. In the novel, Hester is always reminded of her sin and Pearl is the product of Hester and Dimmesdale's sin.
Society is based on how groups of people relate to each other in a community. At many points in time, all of the characters prove the fact that Nature also expresses their feelings. Theodore Roethke once said "Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. " This quote best relates to The Scarlet Letter because all of the characters make their own paths to succeed and show the readers who they are for themselves. Nathaniel Hawthorne makes the reader
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
In addition, Dimmesdale fells guilt even though he still does not confess. Narrator says, “The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne’s bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her” (narrator 154). This ruins Hester life. People in her town wanted her to leave the town or be punished such as wear a big red A on her bosom for the rest of her life.