The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a story about Hester Prynne, a woman who commits a sin. She is filled with many feelings surrounding that sin such as pride. Her sin is a one of passion. Hester Prynne's sin is adultery. She commits adultery with the Reverend Dimmesdale. This sin is regarded very seriously by the Puritans and is often punishable by death. The Reverend Dimmesdale is another character that demonstrates the effects of sin. He commits the same offense that Hester commits, adultery. The difference between Dimmesdale and Hester is that Dimmesdale was not publicly punished for his crime. This makes him feel extremely guilty. This feeling of guilt was so atrocious that it mentally and physically withers him, as he feels a very strong need to repent and cleanse his soul. Dimmesdale's sin is unnoticed. Hester is unable to hide her wrongdoing. Their act of adultery resulted in a child. Her punishment for her crime is to spend a few hours on the scaffold to face public humiliation and wear the letter "A" on her clothes for the rest of her life. The consequences, which Hester faces, are the result of her admission of guilt. This proved to be much less harsh then the internal punishment that Dimmesdale faced. Dimmesdale's method of repentance is much worse than Hester's both emotionally and physically. Dimmesdale whips and beats himself as a form of repentance. Also, he stays up way into the night standing on the scaffold as he struggles to gain the nerve to admit his sin. It also hurts Dimmesdale when the townspeople speak of how righteous and holy he is. All of the internal suffering that he endures proves to be much worse then Hester's public punishment. Roger Chillingworth is Hester's husband. He commits a sin against her. He knew that she did not love him but yet still makes her marry him. He also sent her to America while he studies in Amsterdam. The townspeople make Hester's situation even worse. They punish her for committing a sin even though they commit one themselves. The townspeople are guilty of hypocrisy. The worst sin that they commit is isolating Hester. She comes to a point where she cannot go out during daylight.
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