Conflict in Nathaniel Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter Essay

996 WordsOct 25, 20084 Pages
Conflict in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Conflict can take on many forms in one’s life, such as conflict with self, with society, with religion and with others. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, develops the theme of conflict through the moral sin of Hester Prynne. Conflict is observed through Hester’s difficulties with the townspeople, challenges with the Puritan way of life, struggles with herself and tensions with Roger Chillingworth. Committing sin in the Puritan society leads to a great deal of conflicts. Conflict is first observed through Hester’s ongoing difficulties with her fellow townspeople. Hester receives ridicule from on looking townspeople, as a gossiping woman states, ‘ “At the very least, they…show more content…
Hester faces conflict with Puritan society again when she cannot use her elaborate seamstress skills to make bride veils. Although Hester is very talented she is restricted from anything that would offend the Puritan society, which becomes evident when it is stated, “But it is not recorded that, in a single instance, her skill was called in aid to embroider the white veil which was to cover the pure blushes of a bride” (73). The moral sin of Hester Prynne leads to conflict with the Puritan way of life. Hester continues to face conflict, this time with herself. When Hester faces the reality of the unpleasant situation she is faced with, her self conflict begins. Hester’s feelings are expressed when it is stated, “She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself the infant and the shame were real” (52). Conflict within Hester’s life continues in mothering her curious child. Pearl’s curiosity is revealed when she asks, ‘ “. . . Mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean? –and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom?” ’ (161). Hester feels the responsibility of protecting Pearl from knowing her mother’s sinful actions. The constant questioning puts Hester in a contradictory position. Mothering Pearl causes conflict a second time when Pearl is considered an outcast from other
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