"Isolation Experienced In The Scarlet Letter"

1011 words - 4 pages

"Isolation experienced in the Scarlet Letter"The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This essay describes how the theme "isolation" is experienced by Hester, Pearle, and DimmesdaleWhat do you think about when you hear The Scarlet Letter? Many strong emotions are probably stirring up in your mind. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of this superb novel, incorporated multiple well-known themes. The ones he used were very important, but the one that stood out the most was isolation. Many characters throughout the story, such as Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale experienced isolation, the consequence of sin. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the theme with the greatest amount of emotional meaning and importance is isolation.Hester Prynne, the scarlet letter bearer who committed adultery, is the protagonist that experiences isolation the most throughout the novel. As the consequence of her sin, she is separated from her community and from her family. Hester is kept isolated from her community in many ways. First of all, when she is on the scaffold, she is casted away from the rest of the townspeople. "... she ascended a flight of wooden steps, and was thus displayed to the surrounding multitude, at about the height of a man's shoulders about the street." (51) Another example is when she walks around the town displaying her scarlet letter, and being shunned by the people, especially the other women (nobody else knows what that feels like, having to wear the letter "A"). Mrs. Prynne is also separated from the rest of society (including the elders, women and children) when she is released from prison, and moves into a small cottage "on the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation." (75) Hester is also isolated from her own family. At times, she is distant from Pearl emotionally because Hester is unable to tell her daughter the real meaning of the scarlet letter. Hester tells her that " I met the Black Man... [and] this scarlet letter is his mark!" (182). Additionally, Hester is isolated from Pearl because Pearl does not seem to understand the emotional effect that the scarlet letter has on her mother. Ignorantly, she makes fun of her mother for wearing it, saying, "...the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom." (180) Hester is not only isolated from Pearl, she is also kept at a distance from Arthur Dimmesdale as well. First of all, she is emotionally separated from him because she can not show her love for him. Doing so would result with the townspeople knowing that he committed adultery with her. Secondly, she is physically cut off from Arthur due to the fact that she is living in the outskirts of Boston, away from him. Being in isolation greatly characterizes Hester's own personality and character.Another individual that experiences isolation is Hester's impish and mischievous daughter named Pearl. She...

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