"...pain is in itself an evil; and indeed, without exception, the only evil; or else the words good and evil have no meaning." (Chase 127) In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne presents a very clear view of his stand on morality, which he carefully cultivates through the course of the story. The moral, which is "Be true!" applies equally well to all of the characters in the novel. Though his view does seem to stand as true through the length of the story, it does not, unfortunately, transfer as smoothly to our lives today. In essence it is a hedonistic view to take, which requires a slight stretch as to his interpretation as to how evil, and important, an individual's pain is unto itself. By looking at each of the main characters in turn, it may be determined exactly what his view was on this subject, and how it may be applied to life in our society today.
Because his moral is more explicitly defined as "Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, some trait by which your worst may be inferred!" Hester Prynne is a sound example, for she did exactly that. She could not, and did not, hide her sin, and as a result wore it clearly at all times on her breast, hiding nothing. While at first it may seem as though she was punished more than any other character, because she was so physically punished, Hawthorne makes it clear that she was the most satisfied character in the novel, eventually finding peace with herself because she had no pressing secrets to gnaw at her conscience. Physically, however, the Puritan imposition of punishment was harsh, and unyielding. It brought her below many of the men and women of the town, and had the psychologic...
... middle of paper ...
.... 47-49). San Diego: Greenhaven.
Canby, Henry S. (1996). "A Skeptic Incompatible with His Time and His Past." Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne (pp. 55- 63). San Diego: Greenhaven.
Chase, Richard (1996). "The Ambiguity of the Scarlet Letter." Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne (pp. 145-152). San Diego: Greenhaven.
Gartner, Matthew. "The Scarlet Letter and the Book of Esther: Scriptural Letter and Narrative Life." Studies in American Fiction (1995): 131-144.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: St. Martins, 1991.
Loring, G. B. (1850). "The Scarlet Letter and Transcendentalism." Massachusetts Quarterly Review [On-line], pp. 1-6. Available: http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/loring.html
Scharnhorst, Gary. The Critical Response to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. New York: Greenwood, 1992.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Morality in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Through Hawthorne, the book The Scarlet Letter is written about love, sin, and most of all morals. Hawthorne creates many different perspectives on characters and their views. His vivid descriptions of the main trio of characters allow the reader to make there own decisions on who is morally right or wrong. Is Hester a victim, or a temptress, or maybe Dimmesdale is in the wrong for falling for the temptress. Chillingworth, who is at first thought to be the victim, but in the end the villain.... [tags: Papers]
557 words (1.6 pages)
- Hawthorne depicts the social repression of the society in the 17th Century, which involved the use of psychic repression to ensure control over the subjects. The law prohibited things that were perfectly fictitious about people’s instincts and desire in order to persuade them into believing that they had intentions consistent with the restricted fiction. As a result, the law is able to achieve the intention to make the unconscious guilty. An example of psychic repression is the casual plot of Hester‘s disobedience and obedience between the transcendental law of erotic aspirations and the law of marriage with its own sanctification.... [tags: Morality, Sin, Meaning of life, The Scarlet Letter]
1145 words (3.3 pages)
- “But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose.”(174). According to the legal statutes and the prevailing sentiment of keeping in accordance with a strict interpretation of the Bible, adultery is a capital sin that requires the execution of both adulterer and adulteress. The Scarlet Letter contains little glee and hopefulness. It is densely constructed in the dark with a single spot of vivid color. The theme of private sin versus public morality in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter creates internal conflict Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale with the reflection of the imagination.... [tags: Private Sin, Public Morality]
997 words (2.8 pages)
- The Puritan society was extremely restricting. They had strict laws and rules, and harsh punishments for even the smallest of misdemeanors. They lived with only the bare necessities and discouraged uniqueness or boldness. As a Romantic writer, with beliefs the complete opposite of the Puritans, Nathaniel Hawthorne was very critical of the Puritan’s strict society. In the allegorical novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the characters of Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth order to convey the central moral of rejecting societal ideals and acting upon one 's own desires and emotions.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1476 words (4.2 pages)
- In the book Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1642 Boston, Massachusetts, Hester Prynne has become a women to be respected. Hester Prynne was a mother of a child who was conceived as to be a “sin”. Pearl, Hester 's child was conceived while Hester 's husband was away.This exposed Hester for committing adultery, therefore that 's how she obtained the “A” for life.The “A” stands for adultery which is the Scarlet Letter .Hester has provided many examples of why she should be respected such as; her integrity,coming forth with her sins, and her inner strength as a character.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
761 words (2.2 pages)
- While studying works such as The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Road by Cormac McCarthy, I found a sense of isolation directed towards the main characters. These authors often, however tend to use this method of isolation as a direct focus on the protagonist that without it, the reader would miss. My purpose of this paper is to bring more attention to this connection of isolation between The Scarlet Letter and The Road. During The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Papa and The Boy seem to be the only humans we are shown throughout most of the novel.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- Imagine a society where religion seems very critical and has little individualism. Religion played a very significant factor in Puritan life, so they were required to read the bible and live every moment in a respectful manner to God. Puritan societies believe in doing God’s work, so if someone did not follow the testament, harsh punishments were inflicted upon them. The Massachusetts Bay Colony portrayed itself as a man’s world, where they went to town meetings and made decision about their community in the church.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Puritan]
1384 words (4 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne is a very well known author, especially for one of his more famous novels, The Scarlet Letter. When reading engaging, well-written, and ambiguous novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, we, as students, must go deeper and actually scrutinize the novel and try to depict certain themes or styles that we see developing throughout the course of the book. It is quite easy to see symbolism in this novel; however, it is not as easy to fully understand the thought process that went along with every word, paragraph, and page to The Scarlet Letter, or for that matter, any of Hawthorne’s novels.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1189 words (3.4 pages)
- The Scarlet Letter in Regards to the Parable of the “Pearl of Great Price” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter makes use of Biblical allusions to deepen its treatment of the moral superiority of Hester Prynne. Write an essay that explains how familiarity with the parable of the ‘pearl of great price’ from the book of Matthew helps the reader understand the overall meaning of Hawthorne’s novel. Highlight your thesis and claims in yellow. Staple your notes to the back of the essay. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus redefines many ordinances set out by God and speaks to the people mainly in parables, which is a story heavy in comparisons/analogies to teach a moral truth.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1109 words (3.2 pages)
- Authors utilize symbols as an important literary device. They contribute to the reader’s understanding of the piece and aid in both plot and character development. A well-written novel includes many symbols that enhance the writing and create a deeper understanding for the reader. In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne tells the story of an adulterous woman named Hester. Both Hester and her bastard child, Pearl, are continuously persecuted for Hester’s sinful act. Because of her sin, Hester remains an outcast in the Puritan society.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
782 words (2.2 pages)
- Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist Play
- Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown
- Metamorphosis of the Letter A in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- The Importance of the Scaffold in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Pearl as an Expression of Hester’s Emotions in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Essay on The Greater Sin in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter