Analysis Of The Book ' The Scarlet Letter '

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As I began my summer reading assignment I wasn’t too amused at the beginning chapters

of the “Scarlet Letter,” With Hawthorne throwing around words like “quietude” I wasn’t sure if

it was truly the difference in his old English speech, or if he was tossing in obscure words just to

send people looking through their dictionaries to find out if he had, in fact, made the word up, or

not. But, as I delved deeper into Hawthorn’s work I found a brilliant story with some of the

richest characters I had ever had the pleasure of reading about. Of the four major characters in

the book, I empathized with Arthur Dimmesdale the most. Dimmesdale is man of God

imprisoned by his own beliefs, and because of this he lives his life wallowing in guilt, despair,

and pain. Dimmesdale wants to be a father to Pearl, but to do so it would jeopardize his social

standing in the Puritan culture and his career. In his confliction, Dimmesdale feels that he

should punish himself; he takes away what little humanity he has left just so he can feel he has

appeased God. I can’t help but feel sorry for a man who lives in such a heartbreaking pool of

despair and self-loathing.

Where Dimmesdale’s character really shines, though, is in the Election Day sermon scene

and the scenes leading up to the Election Day sermon. After leaving the forest Dimmesdale is

filled with new life and motivation. He now has purpose, something to live for. Later, in the

third scaffold scene, Dimmesdale
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