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

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1515 words - 7 pages

The Scarlet Letter
After the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, people flocked to America in search of a new life. One of these groups was the Puritans, who fled England as a result of persecution by the crown. The Puritans were known for their extreme devotion to religion, and their goal to have their community to be as a “city upon a hill”. This idea of a city upon a hill shows how they want everyone to look up to them, but this also meant that all of their actions would be elevated and magnified. This reflects the strict rules and harsh punishments that are engraved into the very depths of their society. Crimes such as adultery could be punishable by death. Two hundred years after the initial settlement of the Puritans, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman living in one of the first settlements in America who has a coming to America story similar to other Puritans of her time, until she is found guilty of adultery. The Scarlet Letter may seem like a simple story about a Puritan women living in America during the early stages of the New World, in reality this is not true. Hawthorne’s use of symbolism through the appearance, and setting of the characters to show the state of the mind and feelings of the individuals in The Scarlet Letter makes the story far more complex and meaningful than an author simply writing a story about a Puritan woman. This interpretation of The Scarlet Letter can be compared to The Obliquity of Signs: The Scarlet Letter written by Millicent Bell.
Setting greatly contributes to the meaning of The Scarlet Letter. One of the key locations to the book is the scaffold. The first paragraph of chapter two expresses, “ The mildest and the severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful. Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders, at the scaffold”(Hawthorne 37-38). The text explains that no matter how small and insignificant a crime may seem, it was treated the same way. The people of the community were expected to act as the example for all of the other settlements, and even the smallest crimes would make the community look bad. I interpret the scaffold as the location where of all flaws in the Puritan community are recognized. Dimmesdale standing on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl further supports this idea because; while he is standing up on the scaffold it is indicated that Dimmiesdale has finally seen that he is connected to Hester and Pearl by his crime. When all three of them stand on the scaffold it is described as “There stood the minister, with his hand over his heart; and Hester Prynne, with the embroidered letter glimmering on her bosom; and little Pearl, herself a symbol, and the connecting link between the two”(Hawthorne 101). Dimmesdale shows his guilt by placing his hand over his heart similarly to how Hester has her letter. For the first time all three were united, on the...

Find Another Essay On The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1524 words - 6 pages The trouble that one letter can cause to so many people can be described as nothing short of incredible. The power of the scarlet letter can change a life, a community, and be a harder punishment than people will ever understand. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne gives the scarlet letter three significant meanings that are revealed through different scenes within the novel. The Scarlet letter was pushed upon Hester Prynne by

The Scarlet Letter Essay

884 words - 4 pages The Scarlet Letter has been a dominant piece of literature in America for 400 years. The book is about a single parent, Hester Prynne, who is being publically shamed for committing adultery while her husband was at sea. Throughout the book, Hester tries to keep the identity of her daughter’s father secret, while living with the shame of wearing a scarlet letter “A” on her bosom. The perception of Hester Prynne, from the characters, narrator, and

The Scarlet Letter

1061 words - 4 pages The Scarlet LetterMany great works of literature are filled with material symbols that are meant to represent other deeper more meaningful things, none more so than the letter "A" in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter". In this book, Hawthorne provides us with an intricate plot that takes the scarlet letter through a rollercoaster of ups and downs, spanning the spectrum of positive and negative connotation throughout the course of the

The Scarlet Letter

1584 words - 6 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne"s, The Scarlet Letter is a book about a woman, Hester, who moves to Boston from England during the Puritan times. She has a husband, and tells the colonists of Boston he will be arriving to be with her soon. After years go by and he doesn"t arrive, Hester finds another man whom she becomes close to. She becomes pregnant and the town finds out she has committed adultery. She is forced to wear a letter "A,&quot

The Scarlet Letter

1015 words - 4 pages The Scarlet Letter A Critical Analysis of Hester Prynne The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1849. This novel won him much fame and a good reputation as a writer. In writing The Scarlet Letter, Hawethorne was creating a form of fiction he called the psychological romance. A psychological romance is a story that contains all of the conventional trappings of a typical romance, but deeply portrays humans in conflict

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1521 words - 7 pages Adulteress, banished, condemned…words that flash across the minds of Boston citizens when viewing the scarlet letter ‘A’ that is afixed to Hester Prynne in the 17th century of Nathaniel Hawtorne’s novel. Is it a symbol worthy of scorn and judgment? In their hypocritical eyes, there is no doubt about that. A fallen woman deserves that shame she brings upon herself. Symbolism is a common literary element that is found repeatedly in The Scarlet

The Scarlet Letter

940 words - 4 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, narrates the life of a young woman, Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and was forced to live with the constant torture of Puritan society. Because of this affair that Hester and Dimmesdale underwent, Hester bore a child, Pearl, whom she begot out of wedlock with Dimmesdale. Although Puritan society in the seventeenth century could be brutal with its strict

The Scarlet Letter - 2406 words

2406 words - 10 pages In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne analyzes Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. In the story, Hester is the main character of the story and was called Mistress Prynne (Hawthorne 70). Dimmesdale, in the story was referred to as Reverend Dimmesdale (Hawthorne 90). Chillingworth was originally named, Roger Prynne but later in the story he changed his name to Roger Chillingworth. In the story, Hester committed adultery with Dimmesdale against

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1288 words - 6 pages not!”(p. 78, paragraph 2) said one of the hypocritical old women. This was the judgment that poor Hester Prynne had to stand in front of… Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is one of the most well-recognized books of all time. It has become standard reading material in English classes across the country, and it is not hard to see why. Most of the book is composed of different symbols, or concrete objects that represent something more than

The Scarlet Letter - 765 words

765 words - 3 pages The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne who was a well-known American author wrote The Scarlet Letter in 1850. Nathaniel Hawthorne was from Salem, Massachusetts and when he wanted to write short stories. He was troubled by unhappiness because he wasn't having any success in writing. He then had some success, but then he died a very depressed man. The Scarlet Letter is a novel that greatly reflects the beliefs of the Puritans during his

The Scarlet Letter - 1679 words

1679 words - 7 pages As Elbert Hubbard said “We are not punished for our sins, but by them.” In the eyes of Puritans, submitting to decadence is known to be heretical and should be dealt with great punishment. As shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, punishment for committing adultery, one of the most horrendous sins, is to wear the letter “A”, which stands for adultery. Hester Prynne, the bearer of this brand, is forced to wear this letter for

Similar Essays

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1257 words - 6 pages Hester Prynne has committed a crime that is hard to Discussdiscuss. She has started a huge scandal in the small community of from which she comes from. She committed the crime of adultery. She was tried and sentenced to wear the scarlet letter “A” Which which stands for adultery. She is forced to be publicly shamed for what she has done. The scarlet letter “A” is aan important symbol in this story . It symbolizes a different thing something

The Scarlet Letter Essay

1217 words - 5 pages The Scarlet "A"In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne shows the reader the different meaning of the scarlet "A" from the different points of views which are symbolized by the characters and by the changing meaning of the scarlet letter. Each character plays a different role towards the meaning or symbolism of the scarlet letter. The characters also have meaning behind their names, such as Hester, Arthur Dimmesdale

The Scarlet Letter Essay 593 Words

593 words - 2 pages The Scarlet Letter "The Scarlet Letter", a fictional novel, is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and was published in 1849. The story took place in New England in the seventeenth century. This was a time when a community exercised control over the moral behavior of its members. Those who broke the community's moral code were publicly humiliated by being placed on the scaffold. The story is structured around four characters: Hester, Pearl

The Scarlet Letter Essay 1259 Words

1259 words - 5 pages Letter, by NathanielHawthorne, and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. The Scarlet Letter displays a society that treats two people verydifferently who commit the sin of adultery together. The woman, Hester Prynne, admits her sin, is forced to alwayswear a scarlet letter A on her bosom, and is ostracized from society. The man, Reverend Dimmesdale, hides his sinfrom the world, is almost worshipped by the townspeople, but is filled with the shame of his