This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Essay On "The Scarlet Letter" By Hawthorne

1356 words - 5 pages

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's scarlet token liberates her more than it punishes her. First of all, Hester's soul is freed by her admission of her crime; by enduring her earthly punishment, Hester is assured of a place in the heavens. Also, though her appearance is much hampered by the scarlet letter, her mind is freed by it, that an intellectual passion rises from her isolation and suffering. Finally, it defines her identity, for the letter makes Hester the woman that she is; it gives her roots, character, and a uniqueness to her being that sets her apart from the other Puritans. The scarlet letter is indeed a blessing to Hester Prynne, more than the curse she believes it to be.The scarlet symbol of ignominy may have defiled Hester's public image, yet it has been a benefit rather than a bane to her soul, for by admitting her crime to the crowd, her soul is freed from two hells: first, the fiery pit where she would otherwise go after death, and second, the own personal hell Hester will create for herself if she had chosen to hide her sin in her heart. Though it was ordered for Hester to wear the letter, it was still her own choice to make it in a vivid scarlet, 'so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom.' Hester chose red as the color of her brand of shame, to declare to the rest of the townspeople that she is prepared to acknowledge her sin, instead of denying it; she could have chosen to wear her 'A' in a plain and nondistinct color, to escape the townspeople's disdain. By displaying her guilt however, she is granted the opportunity to face her punishment bravely, thus through her public humiliation, she achieves freedom from the personal guilt of not suffering enough for her crimes. Furthermore, 'the scarlet letter, forthwith seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red-hot.' The scarlet A's glowing embers, scorching they may be, also serve to heal, for the pain they inflict on Hester enables her to properly atone for her sin; by devoting this lifetime to repentance and expiation, she would receive relief in her next life. To the Puritans she is shamed, yet to the heavens she is honored as a repentant sinner who has returned to the loving arms of her Creator. Finally, Hester's scarlet emblem is found on the outside, while the mark that her lover Dimmesdale is found in 'his inmost heart.' Though Hester and Dimmesdale are both branded with the scarlet 'A', there is a world of difference between their badges of shame, for Hester's scarlet token is embroidered in dazzling gold thread and is displayed for everyone to see, showing that she hides nothing, while Dimmesdale's letter is branded on his chest: hidden from the public eye, yet with an effect that is more potent than that of the scarlet token on Hester's breast. Indeed, the heat of glowing metal inflicts a far greater pain than that of needle and thread, the throb of fire against skin is more potent than a pin on a piece of...

Find Another Essay On Essay on "The Scarlet Letter" by Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1061 words - 5 pages Bloom, has his own thoughts on judgement. “At one level of our response, the seventh commandment remains real enough. But what he urges far more strongly is the outrage to both human privacy and human conscience perpetrated by the enforced “unpardonable” Puritan practice of exposure and enforced confession” (Bloom 33). In an earlier chapter, Bloom critiques Hawthorne on his use of The Scarlet Letter as an outlet for his opinions. “ Here as

"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1152 words - 5 pages To read a book, is to plunge into a dark abyss, not knowing what is next and not knowing if or when an end is near. But just words written on paper do not do this to one's mind. A book needs creativity, imagination, it needs to make the mind think and wonder what is actually happening. A book needs to stretch away from reality, or just put a weird twist to it. One way of doing that is shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1206 words - 5 pages Thomas Hobbs and John Locke have two very opposing viewpoints on human nature. Locke believes that human nature is innately good; Hobbs thinks that human nature knows right from wrong, but is naturally evil and that no man is entirely “good”. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the classic novel The Scarlet Letter, believes that every man is innately good and Hawthorne shows that everyone has a natural good side by Hester’s complex character

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1023 words - 4 pages symbol of the novel is the actual scarlet letter ‘A’ that Hester wears on her chest every day, but Hawthorne also uses Hester’s daughter Pearl and their surroundings as symbols as well. Allegory is present as well in The Scarlet Letter and is created through the character types of several characters in the novel. The Scarlet Letter is a fictional novel that begins with an introductory passage titled ‘The Custom-House’. This passage gives a

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1358 words - 5 pages In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the strong values of the puritans in the 17th century through the townsmen and women. Religion was a way of life for the puritans. Their values interjected in their emotions, attitudes, actions, and speech. Hester Prynne committed adultery, which defies the puritan’s beliefs. By examining the punishments that were given to Hester, Hawthorne is able to continue to emphasize the puritan

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1227 words - 5 pages “A bloody scourge…rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance.” (Hawthorne, 141) In the Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Minister Dimmesdale starved himself, whipped himself, and tortured himself to get rid of the guilt caused by his sin with Hester Prynne. Hawthorne describes the minister’s guilt as the evil that anchored him down and shows how Dimmesdale tortures himself but can never get rid of it. His

The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

566 words - 2 pages becomes until he is finally able to reveal his own "scarlet letter" to the public in the same location (the scaffold) where Hester was first persecuted; at which point he loses his battle with burden and dies.Even Chillingworth is affected by sin. His wife had an affair with another man, and it becomes his life's mission to get revenge on the minister. More than anyone else in the story, the doctor is associated with darkness and evil. He seeks to

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 2096 words

2096 words - 8 pages , Hester abandons all the morals of her society, because, here, the scarlet letter represents society's influence on her. Similar in the way Nature has caused detriment to Hester’s life, Dimmesdale attests to similar misfortunes in his life. For example, Dimmesdale very much so enjoys the benefits of taking in "free air" (133) while surrounded by Nature. However, the text insists that the air is "too fresh and chill to be long breathed with

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1445 words - 6 pages was a Puritan colony. There were tree scaffold scene in the novel, they were used to bring all the main characters together. Upon the scaffold was Hester Prynne, with the scarlet letter A on her breast, holding her baby. Although she admitted her crime willingly and accepted the punishment, she refused to give the name of her lover, Dimmesdale, who dared not admit his crime. This posed a question that would not be answered until the end of the

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 1020 words

1020 words - 4 pages Is it acceptable to neglect one’s crimes and move on, or is it better to openly confess yourself in front of your peers? In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, the main character, Arthur Dimmesdale, experiences both ends of the question. From initially disregarding the need to repent for his sin, his figure and character drastically change. By repenting in the wrong ways, Dimmesdale’s character continues to worsen until he finally

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 2233 words

2233 words - 9 pages has allowed them both the suffering that has gone on for seven long years, while he remains, although internally distressed, a great man of society. Hawthorne also relays the idea of taking responsibility for one’s actions. This is portrayed through Arthur Dimmesdale because he comes to realize by the end of The Scarlet Letter that there is no better way to relieve the pain of a guilty conscience than to confess his actions and endure the

Similar Essays

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Characterization Essay

1654 words - 7 pages she was forced to do by being made to wear the scarlet letter. Prynne is a play on the word prim, and also the phrase, "prim and proper," which Hester isn't in the eyes of the Puritan community, since she had an extramarital affair with Dimmesdale. It also relates to how Puritan society is "prim and proper," not allowing much expression or rebelliousness. Hawthorne uses this name because it helps describe what occurred in Hester Prynne's life

The Worst Of Them All. An Essay On "The Scarlet Letter" By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1273 words - 5 pages In 'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathaniel Hawthorne, many characters sin. However, Arthur Dimmesdale, the church priest, commits the worst sins. Hester Prynne commits several sins, but none are even comparable to Dimmesdale's sins. Even Roger Chillingworth's sins, spawned by pure hatred, pale in comparison the sins of Arthur Dimmesdale.Hester Prynne was unfaithful to her husband, Roger Chillingworth. She commits adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale, and

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne 939 Words

939 words - 4 pages the child, bounding across the brook, and clasping Hester in her arms. “Now thou art my mother indeed! And I am thy little Pearl!” (Hawthorne 190). And not only does she kiss her mother’s brow and both her cheeks, Pearl, surprisingly, kisses the scarlet letter as well. “Pearl put up her mouth, and kissed the scarlet letter too!” (Hawthorne 190). Also when Pearl is playing by a pool of water, she decorates her own bosom with a letter “A”, except

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne 934 Words

934 words - 4 pages , there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!’” (Hawthorne, 70). This shows that even from a young age, the puritans were taught that a sinner should be ostracized and tormented. The final point Hawthorne uses to show others view on someone’s actions is the acceptance of Hester and the legend of the scarlet letter. “But, in the laps of the toilsome, thoughtful, and self