Free College Essays - The Theme of Punishment in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter: The Theme of Punishment Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter deals with many themes, the most powerful being punishment. In this novel, Hester Prynne becomes a highly respected person in a Puritan society by overcoming one of the harshest punishments, the scarlet letter. This object on "her bosom"; however, does the exact opposite of that which it was meant for. Eventually, Hester Prynne inverts all the odds against here due to her courage, pride and effort. Hester went beyond the letter of the law and did everything asked of here in order to prove that she is "able." Hester became quite a popular seamstress, admired all over the town of Boston for her work. Hester is modest in everything that she does. Hester herself wears only poor clothing while she embroiders marvelous works for the rest of Boston. The only piece of clothing forbidden to create was the wedding vail. How could a woman wearing the scarlet letter create a dress that represents the values of marriage; having committed sin as she did to be involved in the marital bonds of another couple. Although she does the job willingly and rarely ever looks back to the horrid past behind. The scarlet letter was constantly worn by Hester with pride and dignity. Hester knew that what was done in the past was wrong and that the scarlet A was the right thing to do, therefor it is worn with a sense of pride. The child, Pearl, is "a blessing and as a reminder of her sin." As if the scarlet A were not enough punishment there "was a brat of that hellish breed" which would remind Hester of what happened in the past. The "brat" could have been given away to Governor Bellingham yet Hester proclaimed that Pearl "is my happiness!...Ye shall not take her! I will die first!" Not a person in Boston, nor Hester herself thought highly of the little child and Hester refused to let Pearl go. Hester carried the kid around only because it was a direct reflection of her sin and to cast away here sin as freely as that to give it away would be unjust and unfair to Hester and Pearl.

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