Essay On The Scarlett Letter: The Ugly Truth About Society

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In his novel, the Scarlett Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850), shows the ugly truth about society. This is done through the use of the “A” and the scaffold scenes. Hawthorne does this to show how society over exaggerates the crimes of others. The scaffold scene in chapter two illustrates the hyperbolic reaction to Hester Prynne’s actions. The people of the colony put Hester up on a piece of scaffolding. They do this in order to publicly degrade her, however their attempt to shame Hester only makes her stronger. (41)- “In fact this scaffold constituted part of a penal machine.” Even though Hester is on what Hawthorne describes as part of a penal machine she is brave and head strong. She acts defiantly towards the gossiping townspeople.

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