Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

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Characters in compelling pieces of literature normally represent an abstract idea. These ideas can represent a message that the author wants to communicate to us, and they can even represent concepts that allude to disputes in society. In this case, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, creates a novel where his characters are significant in a manner that depicts life in a Puritan society. Hawthorne delicately establishes characters with an influential role in society with extravagant meaning. Each main character is seen as thinly disguised personifications of hypothetical notions that Hawthorne wants to enlighten us about. Hester Prynne, Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth all portray abstract ideas that reflect the norms of a Puritan society.

Hester Prynne, the heroine of the novel, represents the concept of strength and tenacity. She receives an immense amount of ignominy due to her scarlet letter, but she decides to remain in the Massachusetts Bay Colony even though she has the option to flee. Hester decides to linger in the outskirts of the colony to repent for her sin of adultery. During her seven years of isolation, Hester transforms into a woman filled with courage. Through her bravery, the scarlet letter that previously meant adultery changes meaning in the eyes of the Puritans: “Such helpfulness was found in her, —so much power to do, and power to sympathize, —that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength” (134). The Puritan society begins to see Hester as the changed person she now is. She crafts and embroiders the “A” so elegantly to symbolize that she wants to control her ...


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...his sickness, Chillingworth has no reason to live so he dies as well. Chillingworth is a villainous human being that emphatically represents the concept of revenge.

Characters in The Scarlet Letter represent many concepts that are quite imperative to society. Hawthorne uses these concepts to establish what Puritan society was like during the seventeenth century. The Puritans had very strict laws and rules that created a harsh society to live in. The author establishes how the person representing each concept affects how society progresses. People who have strength, people who are odd, and even people who are morally weak all create the perfect balance in society. Obviously there needs to be the positives, but the negatives are just as significant in society. Every unique person adds their own special part to society as seen in the powerful book The Scarlet Letter.

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