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Of Sin And Consequence Essay

883 words - 4 pages

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne committed adultery with the town’s most loved minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. During the Puritan era, marriage was sacred, and breaking the bond was punishable by death (Hawthorne 49). As fate would have it, only Hester was found out for her sin because of her pregnancy. Hester’s life was spared, but her sin forever changed her. Hester’s sin warped her interactions with society and her loved ones, altered her way of life, and ultimately changed her persona.
As punishment for her sin, Hester was made to bear public humiliation on a scaffold for three hours and wear a scarlet letter for the rest of her life. This isolated Hester ...view middle of the document...

She placed herself in an area that symbolized her confusion of which side she belonged to: heavily constricted society, or the unbridled freedom of the wild. The rules of nature are represented by Romanticism, while society’s laws are represented by the Puritan beliefs. According to Romanticism, Hester did no wrong because she put herself above society’s laws; according to the Puritans, Hester was tainted and ungodly for breaking one of their precious rules. Not completely sure where she belonged, Hester took up her needle to care for her one and only treasure, Pearl (77). Hester sewed clothing for the very people that blushed at the idea that an adulteress could possibly want to sew clothing for brides. While she no longer clothed herself in beauty, the very town that ignored her was arrayed in her handiwork.
Living under the harsh punishment Hester was endowed, new qualities and thoughts awakened within her. At the beginning of the book, Hester has a proud and rebellious spirit, shown by the glorious “A” she sewed onto her clothing. She was not able to think for herself, instead marrying an older and gruesome man whom she did not love. As the story progressed, Hester began to quell her rebellious spirit into submission, and helped others less fortunate than her. In the novel it states, “Except for that small expenditure in the decoration of her infant, Hester bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable than herself, and who not infrequently insulted...

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