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Public Humiliation

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Public humiliation supposedly enforces people’s behaviors to change but does shame really influence people to change? Most people have their different opinions on public humiliation but either way Hester is a victim of this cruel well-known Puritan punishment. On the other hand, as a result of Reverend Dimmesdale withholding his sin, a hard-hitting sickness secretly hits the reverend. The scarlet letter located on Hester’s chest is a constant reminder of her wrong decision. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses the effects of sin in many ways, including public humiliation, Hester and the scarlet letter and Dimmesdale’s sickness. Maria Stromberg, who wrote the article “Hawthorne’s Black Man: Image of Social Evil” expresses the danger of breaking laws through her writings about The Scarlet Letter. Olivia Taylor’s article “Cultural Confessions: Penance and Penitence in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and The Marble Faun” indicates that with every sin one commits there are consequences.
Public humiliation is known as making everyone aware of an embarrassing act done by one. Throughout The Scarlet Letter a character experiences public humiliation. Nathanial Hawthorne uses Hester Prynne as an example of this. “To those who would condone Hester’s sin, on the grounds that she knew love, Hawthorne presents the painful reality of the evil that arises from breaking the laws of the society” (Stromberg 275). Stromberg states that that author makes a clear illustration of the consequences one has to embrace if he or she ever breaks the laws written for society. Throughout the book, Hawthorne mentions idea of the Black Man, symbolizing Satan. “The mark of the Black Man, which both Hester and Dimmesdale w...

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...Public Confession and The Scarlet Letter.” The New England Quarterly 40. (1967): 532-550. Print.
Bensick, Carol. “His Folly, Her Weakness: Demystified Adultery in The Scarlet Letter.” New Essays on The Scarlet Letter. Ed. Michael J. Colacurcio. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 137-159. Print.
Gross, Seymour L. “ ‘Solitude and Love, and Anguish’: The Tragic Design of The Scarlet Letter.” CLA Journal 3. (1960): 154-165). Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin Classics, 2003. Print.
Stromgberg, Maria. “Hawthorne’s Black Man: Image of Social Evil.” Explicator 67.4 (2009): 274-276. Academic Search Premiere. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.
Taylor, Olivia Gatti. “Cultural Confession: Penance and Penitence in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and The Marble Faun.” Renascence. 58.2 (2005): 134-152. Academic Search Premiere. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.
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