The Scarlet Letter

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Throughout Hawthorne’s novel, “The Scarlet Letter”, conformity and individuality play a big part within the Puritan society. Many of the characters are faced with the choice of conforming to the Puritans beliefs, which would ultimately prevent a person from having his or her own identity. Throughout “The Scarlet Letter”, most of the characters are required to conform to what the Puritan society wanted while others ventured out on their own to in order to create their own individual identity. In the end, a few of those who had made the choice in the beginning to conform to what the Puritan society believed was acceptable regretted their decision and in order to find peace within, became individualists in the end. Just because society as a whole has a certain view that does not mean that everyone will be accepting of the same views. It is important for a person to find his or her own individual identity for them to be truly happy. When looking at the Puritans and their beliefs and conformity, they could be viewed as hypocrites. The reasoning behind the Puritans leaving England was to begin anew in the New World and not be subjected to the beliefs or rules of the King. However, they were requiring the women, such as Hester, to conform to their own beliefs on adultery. How can the Puritans leave a country because they did not want to conform to their beliefs yet they expect those within the community and church to conform to theirs? The Puritans just wanted to create their own rules and beliefs for their own townspeople to conform and abide by. Hester Prynne is a prime example of a person who refused to conform to the beliefs of the Puritans for the most part. Overall, Hester remained an individual however, t... ... middle of paper ... ...out having a child, Pearl, her outcome may have been different. Hawthorn exemplifies on how a mother will do whatever she can to protect her child from the harsh views of society. Hester’s individuality was not just her own but Pearls as well. Pearl was able to learn about individuality at an early age and that even if different, such as Hester with the letter on her chest, she could still have a say in how people view her. A person has the power to make the best out of any situation, and Hester did just that. Through her kindness, she was able to regain her individuality. Society will often force their beliefs upon a person, and it is up to that person if they choose to conform or create their own individual identity. Reference Hawthorne, N. (2005). The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

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