The, Secrets, Retribution And Redemption Essay

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Consequential experiences in life, be they good or bad, because of right choices or wrong, often determine who a person is or who they will become. These experiences can shape the person and either destroy them or make them more resolute. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” (3). These words ring particularly true in the remarkable case of Hester Prynne. The Scarlett Letter, a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in 1850, is a tale of sin, secrets, retribution and redemption. Hawthorne’s work follows the story of Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman living alone in the early 17th century settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony after the presumed death of her missing husband. Convicted of the crime of immorality when she has an adulterous affair and conceives a child as a result, she has been sentenced to wear a Scarlett “A” on her bodice for the rest of her life. The letter, meant to be a form of prison for Hester, is an obvious symbol of shame and a constant reminder for her as well as the town’s people of her impurity and indiscretion. The letter is designed as a punishment beyond her own guilt. Fortuitously and without her realizing it, this suffering, due to societies demand for self-proclaimed justice, awakens in her a more independent, courageous and determined woman; a woman able to ultimately change how she is viewed by others and shake the stigma that surrounds the wearing of the infamous
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