Sin in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Scarlet Letter Sin The Scarlet Letter is a novel that deals with the theme of sin. Throughout history, people have committed all types of sins, and whether they are major or minor, people have been punished. However, the severity of a punishment is very difficult to agree on. Some people feel that sinners should be deeply punished no matter how little the wrongdoing was. Others feel that a person's punishment should be based upon the severity of their crime. However, what many people overlook is the fact that in time, we all have committed sins. In The Scarlet Letter, the idea of sin and punishment is the main theme of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery. As Nathaniel Hawthorne states in this novel, "In the view of Infinite Purity, we are sinners all alike." This statement puts a big question mark on the true lives of the Puritans. If we all have once committed a moral wrongdoing, why is this young woman so harshly punished for her sin? Hester Prynne was a young woman living in a Puritan community in the "New World." Her husband, Roger Chillingworth was said to be lost at sea, and Hester assumed his death. Upon this basis, young Hester committed a crime of adultery with her fellow Minister Arthur Dimmesdale. The result of this extra marital affair was the birth of young Pearl, an "elf-like" child. When the townspeople become aware of what Hester has done, they forced her to wear an ultimate sign of punishment, the scarlet letter. This letter "A" for adultery had to be worn on Hester's bosom at all times. When one analyzes the punishment inflicted upon her, it may seem harsh and cruel, especially for a Puritan society. It seems that Hawthorne agrees with this as well. Throughout the novel, it seems apparent that Hawthorne feels that the punishment Hester received was harsh and self-degrading. When one commits a sin, they should understand their mistake, receive their blame, and receive a "slap on the wrist." However, the punishment Hester received was far worse emotionally. Wearing the letter made Hester the talk-about of the town. When she walked through the marketplace, she received scornful looks, as if society was rejecting her for her wrongdoing. Hester was now living on the outskirts of town, isolated from neighbors and trying to communicate with her daughter Pearl.
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