Living and Learning: the Right to Salvation (the Scarlet Letter)

1283 WordsApr 20, 20106 Pages
The Scarlet Letter is a novel about love and jealousy, sin and shame, passion and compassion. It is a tale of a woman named Hester Prynne, who engaged in adultery with the town minister, and as a result, bore permanent consequences from this sin throughout the remainder of their lives. While Minister Dimmesdale denied this sin and expressed his regret through shows of self-abuse and crippling guilt, Hester embraced her sins as past experience and learned from them in order to find her own identity. While the entire novel is rich with allegory and imagery, the conclusion to be drawn is this: Free will is God’s indispensable gift to humanity, and we must allow ourselves to be open to salvation in light of the choices we make. This theme is…show more content…
To her, running away or removing the letter would be an acknowledgment of society's power over her. She does not believe that the letter is a mark of shame and it is not something from which she desires to escape. She does not regret her action simply because she is told she should. Hester stays, refiguring the scarlet letter as a symbol of her own experiences and character. Her past sin is a part of who she is, and in her view, to pretend that it never happened would mean denying a part of her. Thus, Hester openly integrates her past sin into her life. Much unlike Hester, Dimmesdale is scared and ashamed of his past. His attempts to hide what he has done result in his life being a great deal unhappier than that of Hester, who is very candid about her past sins. This is a result of Dimmesdale’s struggles against a socially determined identity. Being that he is the minister of the community, he is often seen as more of a symbol than human being. With the exception of Chillingworth, those around the minister ignore his obvious anguish, instead interpreting it as a sign of holiness. Unfortunately, Dimmesdale never fully recognizes the truth of what Hester has known all along. Individuality and strength are gained by quiet self-assertion and not a rejection of one's construed identity. Pearl is the lovechild of Hester and Dimmesdale, the mark of their sin. In the novel, Pearl is

More about Living and Learning: the Right to Salvation (the Scarlet Letter)

Open Document