Nathaniel Hawthorne 's `` Lonesome Cottage, By The Sea Shore

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Hawthorne indicates how Hester’s solitude, caused by her adultery, lends her the freedom to raise precocious questions about her surroundings, through which she develops a more thorough awareness of society. Several years passed since Pearl’s birth, and Hester’s former passionate nature seems to be replaced with a more contemplative attitude. The narrator states that “In [Hester’s] lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore, thoughts visited her, such as dared to enter no other dwelling in New England” (107-108). Hawthorne mentions the “lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore” in order to emphasize that society has isolated Hester due to her sin of adultery. The thoughts that Hawthorne referenced are caused directly by Hester’s isolation, and therefore her sin. Hawthorne makes the point that these thoughts of Hester’s are so progressive that they would not have “dared to enter no other dwelling in New England”. Solidifying this claim, at one point in the story, Hester believes that her scarlet letter punishment for her sin permits her to speculate on subjects “where other women dared not tread” (129). In fact, Hawthorne has Hester ... ... middle of paper ... ...stence as the consequence of sin lends her insight into her surroundings and society. Hawthorne suggests the idea that sin gives a person a more progressive understanding of human society, and because of this, society as a whole is able to move forward. Hester’s isolation caused her to ponder upon critical questions that were far advanced for her time, while Dimmesdale’s journey with sin draws resemblance to that of Adam and Eve, and he subsequently has an enlightened insight on society. The product of these two’s sin, Pearl, also has a keen perception of her surroundings and society, due to being an extension of her parent’s sin. The broader picture that Hawthorne attempts to convey to his audience is that the acceptance of sin within a community ensures that each member has a much more intimate understanding of humanity as a whole, helping society progress forward.

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