““There was witchcraft in little Pearl’s eyes, and her face, as she glanced upward at the minister, wore that naughty smile which made its expression frequently so elvish.” (Hawthorne 145) This, is a misleading description that Nathaniel Hawthorne depicts of Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne, in his classic novel The Scarlet Letter. Pearl is the living product of sin for her mother. Born out of wedlock, Pearl is a unique child that tends to be very moody and unpredictable. However, Pearl, at such a young age, demonstrates outstanding knowledge and exhibits curiosity to her mother’s scarlet letter, and the hypocrisy of Puritan society. Although Pearl portrays devilish characteristics and performs mischievous behaviour, she
Why is sin important? It is believed that sin is important to people because their deity places guilt on their wrongdoings to show that those actions are not to be repeated. In contrary to this belief, there are people with religious views that hold no importance with sin. Depending on the individual’s religious views, sin can be a conflict between oneself and a “higher” being or it can not affect the individual at all. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Dimmesdale is an ordained Puritan priest that had committed a grave sin in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had committed adultery with a married woman, Hester, the woman that is married to Roger Chillingworth. After Chillingworth has heard about this news, he seeks
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is often renowned as his best work. The novel tells about the rigid ideas of 19th century Puritan New England through the story of Hester Prynne, Minister Dimmesdale, and Pearl. Hawthorne points out that the Puritans are often more ready to judge, punish, and damn someone than to forgive them. He is very critical of this idea, and goes against it by ending the novel with Hester Prynne becoming a respected individual that other women often look to for advice, and by changing the perception many people have of the Scarlet Letter from, “Adultery” to “Able”. Throughout the novel Hawthorne refutes the harsh ideals of the Puritans through the
To start the book, we find that a young woman has committed adultery and when standing in front of a mocking crowd, she is ashamed of her actions. Continuing through the book we find that the adulteress, Hester Prynne, displays many examples of positive outcomes arising from negative situations. She becomes more and more aware of the faults of society and becomes wiser as she deals with the consequences of her actions. Even though Hester made a terrible decision that came with many extremely negative effects, she gained personality traits, perceptions, and people that rose from her mistake.
The central character of the novel, Hester Prynne, undergoes a significant change in character, mainly due to the shame stemming from being forced to bare the scarlet letter. During the first scaffold scene in which she is undergoing trial, Hester is described as: “lady-like . . . characterized by a certain state of dignity . . . her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped” (Hawthorne 103). Despite the presence of a multitude of women sneering at her as she makes the seemingly endless walk to the place of her trial, Hester maintains her cold, almost pompous facade. It is a testament to her initial immense amount of resilience of character and mental strength to keep from breaking down into tears while on the scaffold. This idea of Hester desiring to and succeeding in maintaining a proud and aloof air is further evidenced by the ornateness and intricacy of the scarlet letter itself.
The eighteenth-century author, Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. He was most famous for his writings The Scarlet Letter, “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Minister’s Black Veil” and an abundant array of other books and short stories. The stories that are mentioned contain a copious amount of symbolism throughout the entirety of each book. All the stories that he ever wrote have an underlying meaning and the symbolism was hidden within in the names, characters, places, and actions that happened in the books and helped the readers to have a greater understanding about the Puritan lifestyle and the Bible. The dictionary definition of symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. A few
Surveillance can be considered the act of being watched under a close eye and can have either a positive or negative effect on a person. Some individuals feel more at ease knowing that someone is always there watching which is to create a supposedly safe environment. Others feel pressure from society or their peers to live up to their respected positions and morals of the society, much like Dimmesdale, which causes extreme paranoia. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dimmesdale is an example that demonstrates negative effects that surveillance can have on a person. In the romance, Dimmesdale is faced with both his own surveillance and Chillingworth’s surveillance. However, Dimmesdale’s own scrutiny causes more damage to himself than Chillingworth’s does.
In the Scarlet Letter there are characters that are important to the novel; however there is one specific character that relates to the topic of the story is Arthur Dimmesdale. The character Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minster in Boston. However even though, Arthur Dimmesdale is a minister and preaches against sin to his congregation, he commits the ultimate sin with a young married woman named Hester Pryne. For punishment Hester Pryne becomes pregnant and shunned from public society, Dimmesdale is forced to live with guilt and later in the novel dies from the same sin within his body. Critics that have read the Scarlet letter would argue that Dimmesdale is a weak or ennobled character because he didn’t tell the community of his sinful crime. Another characteristic that critics would agree on is that Dimmesdale was a hypocrite. Arthur Dimmesdale is a character that is weak and hypocritical to his own belief.
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is based off a Puritan village during the 1640s. Hawthorne believes in the power of the individual and that society entices the individual to commit evil acts, this ideology is contradicting to Puritan beliefs. Hawthorne is a critic of the harsh Puritan punishments and public shame. Through Hester Prynne’s life, the author demonstrates how society attempted to fix sin at the expense of the individual. Hawthorne builds on the principles of Romanticism, with his main focus on the heart over logic and he moves away from traditional Puritanism and theocracy.
Children have sponge-like mindsets that are full of curiosity and through each negative and positive encounter, they are able to learn from their experiences. Through their experiences, they are able to be more perceptive about their surroundings and are more honest than adults because they do not know what they say is either right or wrong. Children differ from adults in their potential for expressing these perceptions because they are not afraid to say or express anything but the truth. The children in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, are presented as more perceptive and honest than adults due to their actions of perceiving Hester’s scarlet letter, expressing their opinions without knowing if it is right or wrong, and their willingness to ask questions. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester’s daughter, Pearl, has a willingness to ask questions about the scarlet letter on Hesters chest to help her have a better understanding of why her mother wears it. Pearl shows how different a childs mind is from an adults since she does not understand the mark on her mother 's chest is a punishment. Children are able to be more perceptive and honest than adults because they express their ideas out loud without knowing if it is either correct or incorrect; despite how rude it might be. The ideas that children pick up are usually picked up by the action of their parents. Children are shown to be blunt and innocent because they are young and curious about everything leading them
Everyone sins. This is a well-known and true fact. Whether it is lying to a peer or causing a car accident, everybody sins everyday. The early Puritans of the 16th century were strong believers in everyday sin and writers showed the Puritan way of life in their books, many of which are considered classics. Three characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter—Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Pearl—all represent a sin that is revealed through their actions or the actions of others. Hester Prynne’s sin of adultery is revealed to all at the beginning of the novel. Because her sin is revealed, she can peacefully live her life without the shame of unspoken sin. People still judge her harshly, but she can stand upright before them
Why are human beings tempted to conceal their transgressions? Is it for the fear of punishment or the loss of one’s standing with the public? In the insightful novel The Scarlet Letter, a seventeenth-century Boston minister named Arthur Dimmesdale committed, in the eyes of the townsfolk, the most evil of sins: adultery. Unlike his partner in this offense, Hester Prynne, he did not accept responsibility for his crime; instead he veiled his infraction of the Puritan law from the populace of Boston. As a consequence of his attempt to hide the truth, Minister Dimmesdale felt the guilt course through him, and that inner feeling of remorse caused his health to decline, his speeches to feel hypocritical, and his belief in the Lord’s mercy to
In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's, Scarlet Letter, the little girl Pearl, is the living and breathing symbol of adultrey which is proven by her mother and unknown father to admit their sins to all of the townspeople. Pearl herself, is the Scarlet Letter which sometimes leads to her being given the characteristics of a demon. Pearl 's spirit, love for nature and many other characteristics that she carries, reveals her distinct and unusual personality. She also understands many things that a regular 7 year old wouldn 't even think about, proving that she is a symbol. Pearl, is also the biggest connection between Hester, her mother, and the minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, whom is her father.
Through the acceptance of her sin, Hester is able to live a more respectable life. At the beginning of the novel, Hester believes what she and Dimmesdale did “had a consecration of its own” (170). Their sin, she believes, was brought to light by something bigger and more sacred than the both of them, love. It was not affected or influenced by society, but was real as it was created by a natural human tendency. Hester’s belief that her sin is not worthy of punishment, is clear when “she [repels] [the town beadle], by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and… free will” (49) as she exits the jail. Although strong in the belief that her sin was a consecration at the beginning, Hester quickly becomes doubtful of her innocence as she begins to believe what society says about the severity of her sin. Each time someone looks at her scarlet letter, “they branded it afresh into Hester’s soul” (77). The constant reminder and rumors about her sin make Hester question which story, her’s or society’s, is true. And each time, “she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand” (77) as she wants to
People often keep secrets in an effort to hide their sins from others. This is a risky since secrets have a way of manifesting themselves externally, and thus, letting everyone know of their owner’s sins. Hidden sin is a prominent theme in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter. Names like Chillingworth and Dimmesdale let the reader know how, in reality, these characters are, before ever really encountering them. Characters whom the reader will encounter in this novel are going through some type of dilemma on the inside, which begins to show itself in the exterior of the particular individual. In The Scarlet Letter, two studious individuals, Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale, two of the main characters in the novel, each