The Scarlet Letter : The Puritan Society

1421 Words6 Pages
Amanda Davidson
English-Mahany
10/3/14
Puritans
In Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter, the Puritan society is portrayed as an inwardly and outwardly ugly group of people that followed a set of their own rules. In the very first scene, you can see how their religion and harsh attitudes start to develop. When Hester Prynne is presented in front of the whole town, the community’s reactions and comments towards her gives us a sense of what kind of people they are. Hester’s first reaction to the taunting and yelling of the crowd is the immediate instinct to hide the scarlet letter. Considering she hides the “A” by holding her “sin borne child” to her chest and covering it up, she does not do a very good job. The crowd continues to yell and taunt by telling her that they all know what she did, and she cannot hide from it. When Hester realizes that she cannot hide her sin with another sin, she turns a new direction and, instead, stands proud. Later in the punishment, the crowd begins to try and convince her to say who the father is. She is very reluctant to do so, and will clearly not give up the name, but the crowd keeps trying. The women are even more brutal than the men. They shout things like “this is not enough...put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne 's forehead...she should be put to death!” The endless shaming by the townspeople is an example of the Puritans’ seeming lack of empathy, or sympathy, towards someone who sins. Hester is not the only one who is being
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