Even years after Hester Prynne’s death, the scarlet letter continues to have a negative impact on anyone that views it. Originally, the scarlet letter is meant to put Hester to shame. While initially being publicly prosecuted for her crime, a young wife in the crowd mentions, “let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always on her heart” (49). This immediately sets Hester apart from the rest of society and employs that the letter will be a part of her for the rest of her life. During her public prosecution, Hawthorne depicts Hester’s elegant, dignified beauty and the crowd’s eyes being drawn to the scarlet letter by stating, “it had the effect of a spell, taking her out of th... ... middle of paper ... ...ways.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the “A” that Hester wears has significant meanings to all four major characters. In the novel, the “A” that Hester Prynne wears upon her breast represents adultery. The “A” is very important to the story because it represents Hester 's sin. The novel revolves around the “A” so without the “A” there would be no story. Just as the “A” affects Hester it affects Dimmesdale, Pearl, Chillingworth, and the people of the town as well.
The author of this novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne, is mostly known for his unique and descriptive writing style. In The Scarlet Letter, he describes his disapproval of the leading character’s morals clearly. For example, before Hester Prynne emerges from the cold and dark prison, she is scorned by a group of women who believe in a harsher punishment for Hester. Meaning, instead of being made to stand on the scaffold bearing the scarlet letter on her bosom, they suggest that she “she should be put to death or have it branded into her skin, precisely on her forehead.” Since early times, Puritans have had the reputation for strong discipline, their religious beliefs, and harsh punishment for those defying their beliefs. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel that portrays the Puritans as cold and unfeeling.
Modern society would call a lifetime of humiliation a cruel and unusual punishment. In the time of the Puritans, however, that punishment was seen as excessively merciful for Hester Prynne, a woman guilty of adultery. Forced to wear a visible label of her crime for the rest of her life, Hester was unable to hide from the sin that she committed. Her counterpart Dimmesdale, on the other hand, was seen by the public as godly, and he hid his responsibility for years. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates the effects of the conscience, showing the differences of one whose guilt is secret and one whose is exposed.
Chillingworth, who is at first thought to be the victim, but in the end the villain? Through Hawthorne's writing we the reader must decide on the morality issue among Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. Hester, who is essentially the main character in The Scarlet Letter, therefore, is the most vividly described character in the book. In committing an act so looked down upon by her community in Salem, she must be burdened by an "A" on her chest. As Hester suffered greatly for her transgression, the citizens suffered as well, whether knowing or not, through their hypocritical and cruel punishment.
The symbolism in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is significant to understanding the scarlet “A”, Pear, and the meteor. The Scarlet letter is the most significant symbol of the entire story. The work of Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter is emotionally so complex that the symbolism in the story can be hard to figure out (Whipple). The setting of The Scarlett letter is in puritan time which Mr. Hawthorne has made the book more realistic by putting puritan rules and ways thorough out the story(Lanzen Harris). The scarlet letter is a scarlet and gold badge that is carefully embroidered by Hester Prynne to be worn upon her breast to show that she is adultery (Hawthorne 155).
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than the physician." (Shakespeare - Macbeth) Okay, I know this is Shakespeare, but it sums up the suffering of The Scarlet Letter well. Doesn't it? Hester suffers society's judgement for her adultery, the letter A (a constant reminder of her infidelity).
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.
147-160) In lines 147-148, she curses this "detested" day on which her lock was "sn... ... middle of paper ... ...the helplessness of a beautiful woman like her in a society of men like the Baron. At times we are given the impression that the mistake was indeed hers when Belinda cites examples of things she could have done and should have done to prevent the rape of her lock. Such a reaction from Belinda reinforces the notion of the rape serving as a metaphor for a sexual rape. The reaction of many women in our time to sexual rape is almost exactly like Belinda's reaction to the rape of her lock. However, it becomes clear that Belinda is only over exaggerating after she goes on and on speaking of radical changes that would have prevented her loss.
In 1850 one of the most popular, classic feminist books was published; this book is called The Scarlet Letter. Applying the feminist approach to The Scarlet Letter is ideal because it is written by a man by the name of Nathaniel Hawthorne and is about a woman that commits adultery and lives a very harsh life. As a feminist reader interpreting this book could be taken in a few directions which allows this approach to be appropriate. A feminist reader could look at why Hawthorne made the main character, Hester the way she is, why he had the other characters treat Hester in a particular way, how Hawthorne portrayed the women in this book, or even how and why Hester and the other women acted the way they did. By using the feminist approach Hawthorne portrays that women are the bad guys in situations, but are also a lot stronger than many may think.