Hawthorne continues to say ¡°It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself¡± (37). Since the scarlet letter symbolizes sin, it is the ultimate source of social isolation for her. Hester is in a sphere of her own where her sin affects her livelihood and has completely isolated her from the world. The prison marks the beginning of a new life for Hester; a life filled with coping with consequences. Guilt is a consequence of sin that Hester must endure throughout her life, which also begins to have a profound effect on her life and thinking.
Since Hester is the mother, she cannot hide the fact that she is the mother of the child or that she has had an affair and is punished with jail time and a scarlet letter pinned to her bosom that she must wear for the rest of her life. However, the minister’s sin remains a secret. Although Hester and Dimmesdale’s love and passion are natural compared to the relationship of Hester and Chillingworth, an arranged marriage to a much older man, their love and affair is still a sin. The sins of Hester and Dimmesdale bring out the darkness and evil in other people starting with Doctor Chillingworth. After Chillingworth learns about Hester’s affair with ... ... middle of paper ... ...y then did nature respond to her, “Such the sympathy of nature…filling the heart so full of radiance that it overflows upon the outward world” (2413).
For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives. Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death (Hawthorne 51). Perhaps the most important influence on the story is the author's interest in the "dark side" ("Introduction" VIII). Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne "confronted reality, rather than evading it" (VII). Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery, a subject that caused much scandal when it w!
Hawthorne uses Pearl as one of the most essential characters for relaying themes in the novel. In the beginning she symbolizes the sin of her mother, as she grows she represents the honesty that the adults lack, and in the closing scene she symbolizes redemption. Pearl is first introduced in the novel as the infant Hester is clutching to her breast. Hester wears the scarlet letter and holds the baby, both the punishment for her adultery. Even as an infant Pearl is aware of the scarlet letter that her mother wears.
The disheartening insults that Hester was bombarded with at every corner inevitably made her stronger, “Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, —stern and wild ones, —they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss (Hawthorn 209). Through the powers of time this strength was what forged new meanings for the scarlet letter. At the beginning of the novel Hawthorne made it very clear that the scarlet letter stood for adulterer. After Hester’s public humiliation on the town’s scaffold she isolated herself in a cottage and made stunning sewed works.
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, narrates the life of a young woman, Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and was forced to live with the constant torture of Puritan society. Because of this affair that Hester and Dimmesdale underwent, Hester bore a child, Pearl, whom she begot out of wedlock with Dimmesdale. Although Puritan society in the seventeenth century could be brutal with its strict, moral beliefs, Hester and Dimmesdale still managed to express romantic feelings for each other, even though it was forbidden. Hawthorne referred to his work, The Scarlett Letter, as purely Romanticism, however it reflects both Romanticism and Puritanism throughout the novel. The novel reflects Romanticism in the ways that it shows the social transformations and spiritual development of Hester Prynne.
The Power of the Symbol in The Scarlet Letter All classic literature uses symbolism in one way or another. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is no different. The very basis of every character, their personal appearance and way they act revolves around one thing, the Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is an "A", in crimson fabric, worn by a Puritan woman for her act of adultery. Its very existence is solely to cause shame and remorse on Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, who was conceived in her lust, but it comes to stand for so much more.
Eventually her badge becomes a blessing as other women come to her for advice and counseling in that, “people brought all their sorrows and perplexities, and besought her counsel, as... ... middle of paper ... ...pite being forgiven by Mr. Dimmesdale. Right before Mr. Dimmesdale dies, Roger Chillingworth exclaims, “Thou hast escaped me!” (page 175) Roger Chillingworth is held in bondage because of his refusal to forgive Mr. Dimmesdale. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, these three types of bondage are clearly seen. Hester Prynne is imprisoned by the laws of society and is only set free when she defines herself rather than letting society define her. Mr. Dimmesdale, who is held captive by his guilt, is released when he openly confesses his sin.
In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the writer, has created a miserable love story which is mainly developed around a symbol of adultery¡ªthe scarlet letter. Apart from Hester Prynne, the woman who bears the shame of the Letter A, her daughter Pearl Prynne is also an important character closely connected with the symbol of sin in the book. From being a living letter ¡°A¡± to an elf rising above the vulgar crowd, Pearl, throughout the story, has developed into a dynamic symbol which brings us hope and strength. The most significant symbolic meaning of Pearl Prynne is that she is the living version of the scarlet letter, the scarlet letter endowed with life. To Pearl herself, the scarlet letter is part of her life which accompanied her to grow up.