Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the ideology of Puritan society in the novel the Scarlet Letter; however reader also get to witness his characters being an illustration of hypocrisy and victims to their own guilt. In the Scarlet Letter, as in many of Hawthorne’s shorter works, he makes profuse use of the Puritan past: its odd exclusionary belief, its harsh code of ruling, its concern with sex and witchcraft. The Scarlet Letter is a story that is embellished but yet simple. Many readers may view this novel as a soap opera due to the way Hawthorne conveys this Puritan society’s sense of strictness and inability to express true emotion along with the secrecy and how deceiving the characters are being. As the story unfolds the main character Hester Prynne is bounded in marriage at an early age. She engages in an adulterous affair with an unknown member of their small village. Hester soon becomes pregnant and with her husband’s absence the chances of this child belonging to her husband are slim. The towns’ people know that she has committed a sin and imprisons her for her crime.
Even though Hester was publicly shamed for her sin and forced to wear a scarlet letter, a badge of shame, she did not submit to the public’s insults. Even while delivering the materials she sewed, “Dames of elevated rank... were accustomed to distil drops of bitterness into her heart... alchemy of quiet malice, by which women can concoct a subtle poison from ordinary trifles… fell upon the sufferer’s defenseless breast like a rough blow upon an ulcerated wound… and she never responded to these attacks” (127). The negative connotation and personification of the insults emphasizes the amount of acerbity she received because of her notorious sin. Despite this, the public humiliation caused by the scarlet letter essentially separated her from the Puritan ideals like “a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relation with humanity”(61). This personification of the scarlet letter allows Hawthorne to present how Hester reacted to the ignominy caused by her sin. This isolation also permits Hester to formulate her own reasoning on what is right and wrong based on her own standards. All this freedom, in turn as Hawthorne presents, comes from revealing the sin. Hawthorne also presents this act as favorable since at the very end, the women in the society, some of whom once scorned her, sought advice from her. This suggests that the civilization which one banished all sinners had accepted one of them back. The reader can safely conclude that revealing the truth, although it may be harsh at first, can result in positive aspects towards the
Society has unintentionally been guided by the same themes since the beginning of time. The recurring themes that are present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic The Scarlet Letter are still relevant in today’s society. When high school students and teachers claim that Hawthorne’s novel is archaic and should be removed from the curriculum, they are absolutely wrong. Hester Prynne, the main character of the novel, commits adultery and as punishment, has to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest for everyone to see. Throughout the novel, Hester is faced with obstacles such as the struggle between self and society and the burden of publicly suffering for her sins. Despite a substantial amount of time having passed since Puritan times, the themes that Hester Prynne had to experience are still pertinent. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, is driven mad by his incessant need for revenge and in society today there are many occasions where people are plagued with the desire to seek vengeance. There are some instances in life where human nature takes over without people even realizing and revenge is one of them. Also, people are right when they say “history repeats itself” because some of these themes never go away. The Scarlet Letter takes place in the strict religious time of the 1600’s and although the book seems outdated and obsolete, the ideas inside are still relevant and therefore high school students should continue to read this work
People have been stereotyping outcasts since the beginning of time. This behavior is a crucial component of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. The main character of the story, Hester Prynne, resides in a community of Puritans; who are notorious hypocrites. Their harsh rules are basically impossible to follow, therefore setting their citizens up for failure and punishment. Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne with the elements of sin, judgement, and revenge.
Imagine, after making one mistake, being placed in the public eye and forced to wear and everyday reminder of that one mistake. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that brings attention to the way society ostracizes people who it deems unfit. The main character, Hester Prynne, is condemned to a life of shame and seclusion as a result of the punishments of her sin of adultery. By displaying a character that experiences the harsh punishments and lifelong effects of the world’s treatment of what it views as abominationabonination, Hawthorne argues that society’s ruthless behavior toward sin and sinners is emotionally and morally crippling to those
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is a compassionate yet riveting piece of English literature that supports the movement for equality of suppressed women during a most tumultuous time during the 1800’s. Hawthorne’s use of emotional diction and imagery throughout his novel employs a deplorable tone upon the story. It serves as a stark representation of an imaginative yet realistic example of the indifference of men and women during these changing times. Deeply held Puritanical beliefs led countless of people to believe that individuals, especially women, who committed sins of any type would never reach heaven upon their passing. Men, on the other hand, were judged less severely if accused of a crime. Hester Prynne, the
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
“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle” Napoleon Hill. The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes place in Boston 1642, a religious puritan town with firm rules set in place. The conflict of the novel is focused between the character’s sense of morality and the emotions they hold for the ones around them. The main protagonist, Hester Prynne is a humble but strong headed woman who kept her strength throughout the novel when faced with adversity. She was bound by the letter A for adulteress as she had borne an illegitimate child; the purpose of the scarlet symbol was to mark the possessor with shame. However, Hester wore the excessively embroidered symbol on her heart with pride. Hester Prynne showed
Shakespeare once said, “If it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul.” In the 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter, a young woman named Hester Prynne was just that. Nathaniel Hawthorne tells a story of a young woman named Hester, who commits adultery, and how she struggles to raise a daughter, and keep her lover from judgement. In the Puritan society, honorable sin was not a possibility. Throughout the book, characters deal with consequences for their actions that change their views on how they should deal with problems. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingsworth, the main characters, all have consequences for their sins. In the book sin changes the characters’ personalities, choices, and actions.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was inspired by John Hathorne to create the novel The Scarlet Letter. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne displayed some of the cruel punishments people in that society faced at the time, even though the crime was neither serious nor threatening to others. In The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist, Hester Prynne, is accused by Puritan minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, for commiting the sin of adultery. In a Puritan society, adultery is an unacceptable action and should receive punishment. In chapter two of the novel, a crowd of Puritan women wait outside the prison discussing Hester Prynne’s sin and expect the punishment to be quite grand. The punishment Hester had to suffer was to wear a scarlet letter “A” and stand on the scaffold in front of an unsympathetic crowd. While on the
The scarlet letter once held the meaning of adultery, but now means something completely different. The scarlet letter now means able; it becomes the embodiment of the strength seen in Hester (Hawthorne 121). Thus giving birth the to idea that a person’s mistakes define them in the way that they choose. Hester chooses to face her iniquities which allow her to decide how this decision will define her.
Life is constantly putting everyone through trials that test our perspective on what is right or wrong in society; some people view it as a straight line that divides right and wrong, while others believe there is no line, only a blur. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s,” The Scarlet Letter”, tells the tale of the adulterous, Hester Prynne, ( the main character ) who struggles to find out what is right and what is wrong throughout the struggle of being seen as a living punishment of adultery.In "The Scarlett Letter", a rosebush is used to depict Hester's morality and the way she tries to develop a balance between keeping secret the father of her child and accepting the way society portrays her. The townspeople always denunciate her and go as far as calling her "The spawn of satan"(51).
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, narrates the experiences of Hester Prynne, a beautiful young woman in Puritan times, after committing the sin of adultery with the local Reverend, Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale. Because she became pregnant, she bears the public scorn of her sin, while the town does not uncover Mr. Dimmesdale’s participation in the act until the very end of the novel. Using the Puritan society as the setting, and the development of both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, Hawthorne explores the concepts of individuality, identity, and isolation. Through Hester and Dimmesdale, he presents two scenarios: one in which the character is isolated and freed from society,
Often in society people are criticized, punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author uses Hester Prynne to symbolize that those who challenge social conformities can benefit society as a whole. Though she has been banished for committing adultery, she sees that the community needs her. Through her generous accomplishments the community realizes she is a person who, regardless of her sin, can affect the community in a positive way.
In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet A on her chest, because of the sin, adultery, she committed. This letter separates Hester from the rest of the Puritans in the town, and causes her much loneliness and suffering. In the beginning of the book, the Puritans are disgusted by Hester, and shun her. As the book goes on, however, the townspeople slowly begin to let Hester into society, and use her as an example of how suffering and good deeds can lead to salvation. Hester’s view of herself does not change, and it shows that society is not the only source of her suffering. Hester’s suffering and lack of suffering from the town reflect on the nature of the Puritans, and reveal how even the strictest of societies can show compassion in certain circumstances.