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T.His Paper Summarizes The Entire Story Of The Scarlet Letter In Plain And Easy To Understand Text

1116 words - 4 pages

The Scarlet LetterThe novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a captivating account of a Puritan community that experiences a halt in beliefs. The story deals with a woman, Hester, who commits adultery with a minister resulting in the birth of a child, Pearl. As a consequence of her sin of passion and refusal to name her lover, Hester is sentenced to wear an embroidered scarlet letter on her bosom. This letter becomes the emphasis of the novel and assumes many different roles.Hawthorne starts the novel by allowing the reader to be enlightened with the sin committed. Hawthorne's use of symbolism is obvious throughout all of his characters and their personalities. All of the adult characters face the challenge of truth telling and acknowledgement of wrongdoing (Rust 215). The scarlet letter represents different ideals to different people. In the Puritan community, the letter is viewed as a moral obligation to inform others of Hester's sin, one they feel should be "dragged out into the sunshine" (Hawthorne 43). They believe the letter symbolizes psychological and religious truth. The Puritans are "a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical, and in whose character both were so thoroughly interfused, that her mildest and severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful" (Hawthorne 40). Hawthorne says that "meager, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders at the scaffold" (Hawthorne 40). The Puritans are firmly against Hester's actions and feel that she has disgraced them along with herself. They feel that she must take responsibility for her actions. The effect of her punishment, however, is not what the Puritan's had hoped to achieve. Hester's sin has grown from that of passion to one purpose. Even with Hester's sympathetic attitude, she was not filled with regret and therefore the letter had not done its task.To the Reverend Authur Dimmesdale, the scarlet letter contains a whole new meaning. He views the letter as a constant reminder of his sin and cowardice. His guilt continues to grow as a result of his being able to come forth in front of the community and take responsibility for his actions. His guilt and sin become magnified by his failure to stand beside Hester at the scaffold. While delivering his sermons, he tries to display his sin through the message, but the townspeople do not see that he is displaying his personal guilt which only furthers his inner turmoil. Dimmesdale also is overwhelmed with questioning Hester and trying to convince her of the importance of identifying her fellow sinner (Hawthorne 52). Various words such as "godly" and "heaven-ordained apostle" are used to desribe Dimmesdale meaning he probably has a insincere degree of sanctity (Rust 215). He begins to feel more and more grief, and it begins to affect his mental and physical state. Even though Pearl is the only visible sign of his wrongdoings, he still has inner...

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