It is immediately when the book begins that we are introduced to Hester. Hawthorne describes her as “a scarlet woman” guilty of sin black in the eyes of the Puritans (Waggoner 75). It is then in the first scene that we are shown that Hester is a woman being put to public shame by standing on the scaffolds for the whole town to see. Yet Hawthorne manages to put in very slight opinions through the dialogue of the characters in this scene. He states, “There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature...more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame” (Wagenkchnect 60). In Hawthorne 's entire novel, the overall opinion on Herster continuously changes. She is seen as the worst of all sinners by the puritan people of her town, thus the reasoning for her to wear the scarlet letter upon her chest for the rest of her days. There is a point in time, over the years, that the town people slightly change their opinion on Hester, as she continues to give to the poor in town, sews for the people, and eventually takes a job to be a sister of mercy in the sickroom to those dying. At some point in that time, her social responsibility grew, causing some commotion in the question as to what kind of person Hester ...
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... not publicly love them. This is a lot for a seven year old child to think about. But when it all comes down to an end, and Pearl is finally given what she wants, to be known by all the people that Dimmesdale truly loves Pearl and Hester, she finds in her young seven year old heart to look past the denial of Dimmesdale for the past years of life and kiss him goodbye as he dies there in front of the town, and in the arms of Pearl and Hester.
Hawthorne does an exceptionally well job of showing what forgiveness can and cannot do to a person. Whether it is based around love or hate, the forgiveness is often only given after the effects are too late. His characters honestly die because they let their own hatred and cowardly life, take control of them, causing them to only forgive when it is too late. The way he uses that aspect through his characters, is quite admirable.
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