The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale

In Nathaniel Hawthorn’s torrid tale of The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale, a main character, is confronted with a number of circumstances, both in and out of his control, that lead to his ultimate demise. Dimmsedale is a weak cowardly man. Arthur Dimmesdale, a minister, lives his life under the watchful yet admiring eye of the townspeople of Boston and, as a result, becomes a slave to the public opinion. His sin against Hester and Pearl is that he will not acknowledge them as his wife and daughter in the daylight.

He keeps his dreadful secret from all those under his care in the church for seven years for fear that he will lose their love and they will not forgive him. He is too weak to admit his sins openly and in their entirety. Instead, he allows his parishioners to lift him in their esteem by confessing, in all humility, that he is a sinner: “The minister well knew–subtle but remorseful hypocrite that he was! –The light in which his vague confession would be viewed. They love him all the more for his honest and humble character, and this is Arthur’s intent.

Even as he plans to run away with Hester four days after their meeting in the forest, he comforts himself with the knowledge that he will give his sermon on predestination on the third day, and thus will leave his community with fond memories of his final exhortation. Arthur’s flaw can be found in the fact that he chooses to value the public view above those of Hester, his love, and God, his master. Arthur, punishing himself for his ugly secret, which his need for public affirmation will not let him reveal, gradually kills himself through guilt and masochistic practices.

In Mr. Dimmesdale’s secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders; laughing bitterly at himself all the while. It was his custom to rigorously until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance. He kept vigils, likewise, night after night, and sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with a glimmering lamp; and sometimes, viewing his own face in a looking glass, by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it.

He tortured himself, but could not purify, himself. Arthur allows his guilt and self-hatred to destroy his heart and soul, but he still refuses to confess and repent publicly his great transgression. Instead, he is often seen with his hand covering his heart, looking pained and repentant. Arthur allows himself to think the worst of himself, and does not guard his heart against the evil of Roger Chillingworth, which he senses, but chooses not to detect and eliminate.

He confesses openly that he sinned, but he doesn’t confess that he has, for all these years, been oppressed by his need for acceptance. He instead accepts Hester and Pearl, a positive though final step. Arthur recognizes that he should have put aside his desire for public worship when he says: “People of New England! –ye, that have loved me! -ye, that have deemed me holy! –behold me here, the one sinner of the world! At last! –at last! -I stand upon the spot where, seven years since, I should have stood; here, with this woman, whose arm, more than the little strength where with I have crept thitherward, sustains me, at this dreadful moment, from groveling down upon my face! ”

He cannot entirely escape his desire to have the people look well upon him. Arthur dies in the heroine’s arms, publicly and somewhat triumphantly, having gotten things off his scarred chest. His cathartic confession is not followed by a lifetime of public shame as that which Hester has endured but rather peace in heaven.

It seems that Arthur has the benefit of the confession and recognition without the painful aftermath, and because his confession comes so close to his time of death, he is remembered as the sweet man he was before his death and not as shamefully as he could have been. Arthur must have been a weak, dependent man before he ever entangled his life with Hester’s. Such weakness is not born overnight, but instead is usually drawn out after trials and tribulations like Arthur’s. Instead of overcoming his weakness, Arthur lives as a sinner, allowing Hester to be the strong and moral one for them both.

Even in death, she is the supporting one, he the weak one. Even as Hawthorne describes him, Arthur is childlike and ill-suited to his environment: “Notwithstanding his high gifts and scholar-like attainments, there was an air about this young minister,–an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look–as of a being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence, and could only be at ease in some seclusion of his own. This is hardly the epitaph of a man of strength and integrity, but rather a brief description of an endless list of insecurities and foibles.

Arthur Dimmesdale is not a strong character, or one of any considerable growth. Surely, all readers are in agreement that his story is tragic of its own accord, but that it incites pity for him is questionable. Arthur, while being significantly flawed and quite aware of it, ends up destroyed as a man. #3 Hawthorn shows sins of several different kinds in numerous people, as well as the consequences and remedies of their sins. Arthur Dimmesdale bares the most brutal effects of such sin, this is due to several reasons.

The most observable reason for his eventual breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. Arthur Dimmesdale’s sin was the same as Hester’s, except he never confessed. Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out of his life. His life’s work has been dedicated to God, and now his sin has tainted it. He feels that he is a fraud and is not fit to lead the people of the town to salvation. His secret guilt is a much heavier burden than Hester’s since he must hold it all within himself. This also reveals Dimmesdale weakness.

Arthur wanted desperately to admit his sin to the world, which is shown throughout the book. In view of the fact that there was no external punishment for Arthur, he creates it within himself. He still received his penalty, an internal punishment. At one point in the story he had delusions of going to the scaffold and confessing his sin to the people. It caused him to walk feebly, and left him without any substantial strength as he felt of little worth. This self-inflicted punishment affected his physical appearance to such a degree that others would notice it.

While waiting in the woods for him, Hester observed Dimmesdale “leaning on a staff, which he had cut by the wayside. He looked haggard and feeble”. Pearl also notices the ministers compulsive behaviors caused by his hidden feelings, as revealed when she asked “will he always keep his hand over his heart? ” Dimmesdale is seen throughout the book holding his hand to his heart. It is the sign through which he could symbolize to world both his sin and suffering. It represents his scarlet letter that he forces himself to wear, whether intentionally or subconscious.

Auther Dimmesdale’s own punishment is so oppressive that the chance of leaving with Hester and Pearl makes him the exact opposite of what he has become. He left the woods with twice as much energy as before. On the way to town, he barely stops himself from swearing to a fellow deacon. When an old lady approaches him he cannot remember any scriptures to tell her, and the urge to use his power of persuasion over a young maiden is so strong that he covers his face with his cloak and runs off.

Near the end of the story Dimmesdale finally receives his salvation. After his Election Day speech he ascends the scaffold and bears to the entire town the truth behind his sin. After he achieves this great mental feat he collapses and dies. This is a true irony since his death was both his final salvation, and also served as the last effect of his sin. The internal punishment he caused himself was his eventual downfall. Dimmesdale had many hardships, and had the most brutal effects of sin bestowed upon him.

The Distinguishing between Hester and Dimmesdale

Both Hester and Dimmesdale, are characters in the Scarlet Letter. They suffer with the guilt of the sin of adultery that they committed. At the time, the Puritans looked down on this type of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale can be compared and contrast in the way they handled their scarlet letter, their cowardliness, and their belief of what the afterlife is. Hester and Dimmesdale both bear a scarlet letter but the way they handle it is different. Hesters scarlet letter is a piece of clothing, the SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom (Hawthorn 51).

Dimmesdale on the other hand, has a scarlet letter carved in his chest. This is revealed when Dimmesdale was giving his revelation, in which he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast. It was revealed! (Hawthorn 232). Since the Scarlet Letter on Hester is visible to the public, she was criticized and looked down on. This women has brought same upon us all, and ought to die (Hawthorn 49) is said by a female in the market place talking about Hester. She becomes a stronger person through living this hard life.

Dimmesdale instead has to live a life of cowardly and selfish meanness, that added tenfold disgrace and ignominy to his original crime (Loring 185). He becomes weaker and weaker by time, neither growing wiser nor stronger, but, day after day, paler and paler, more and more abject (Loring 186). Their courage is also weak. The courage that those two share is quite similar, in that they have none. They both are afraid of the public and what the public would think of them.

Hester refuses to tell anyone about her real husband, Chillingworth, who is still alive, or about her lover, Dimmesdale. Hester and Dimmesdale also try to take the cowardly way out when she has a chance to go to leave Boston and go to Europe, Her advising them to flee Boston was irresponsible (Granger 7). Hester after talking about leaving, and while in the forest with Dimmesdale and Pearl, takes the scarlet letter off. She was planning to never wear the scarlet letter again, especially after saying, The mid-ocean shall take it from my hand, and swallow it up forever!

Hawthorne 193). This shows that she did not have enough courage to bear the scarlet letter in Europe. Pearl still makes her bear the letter by saying, Come thou and take it up! (Hawthorne 193). Finally, Dimmesdale has a boost of courage on the scaffold he says he is the one sinner of the world! there stood one in the midst of you, at whose brand of sin and infamy ye have not shuddered! (Hawthorne 231- 232). He finally has the courage to admit that he had sin. After this speech, his live is coming to an end.

Hesters view of the afterlife is one in which both her and Dimmesdale will live with each other. When Dimmesdale is dying in her arms she says, Shall we not meet again? Thou lookest far into eternity, with those bright dying eyes! Then tell me what thou seest? (Hawthorne 233). By saying that she believes that they will be united in paradise (Grander 8). In that Dimmesdale replies his belief of the afterlife, we forgot our God God knows: and He is merciful! Praised be His name! His will be done! Farewell! (Hawthorne 233).

This shows that Dimmesdale does not know what the after life will be like, but he knows that it will be the way God wanted it to be. Although Dimmesdale and Hester are fictional characters their lives are good examples of what could happen between human relationships. It shows that a letter can be more hindering than the sin itself, and that the way you handle the punishment is important. It can be either publicly or internally, both have their ups and downs. Also by having the courage to tell the truth is the easiest way to be set free, even though being set free might be death.

The Crucible vs The Scarlet Letter

Two hundred years ago, the church was the center of life in many New England towns. The church provided not only religions guidance but, was a place for social gathering and a chance for neighbors to keep in touch. This is shown in depth in Boston, by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter and in Salem, by Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible. Both towns are perfect models of the churches’ affect on their communities. Both towns were settled by immigrants from England seeking religious freedom from the theocracies in Europe.

In each town the church became a leading force in the local government. The church could influence the courts to impose legal penalties on crimes against the Ten Commandments. Crimes such as adultery, in The Scarlet Letter, and worshiping other gods, The Crucible, were violations of the commandments and carried significant civil penalties. The church influenced the community “to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might challenge the church’s institutional values. ” In The Scarlet Letter, Boston even held special Election Day sermons.

These were then followed by a special procession given by the town for the “minister whom they so loved. ” However, these beloved church leaders were not the perfect devout workers of God that they professed to be. Reverend Dimmesdale, was an adulterer and father of an illegitimate child. Reverend Danforth of The Crucible, was a money hungry old man who appeared to be preaching for his own greedy, personal gain. Both men, however, were allowed to get away with their sins for a while because no one dared question the people who gave them their spiritual enlightenment.

These men were, after all, the same men who were responsible for the church that stood at the center of not only the town, but also the morality and values that guided the lives of the people who lived in it. It is somewhat ironic that in both novels, the persecution of women in puritan communities for crimes, which were sins against the church, took place in religious societies formed by those seeking relief from religious persecution. In each book, persecution of those who dared be different by breaking the communities accepted religious values, is apparent.

Hester, the adulteress, and Abigail, the adulteress “witch”, were both persecuted for their actions. In conclusion, it is very clear that the common theocratic theme of societal values based on puritanical religious beliefs controlled the day-to-day lives of the communities in The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. The effect that religious conformity had on the lives of the community and persecution for nonconformity can not be overlooked in these works of Hawthorne or Miller.

The Crucible Vs The Scarlet Letter

Two hundred years ago, the church was the center of life in many New England towns. The church provided not only religions guidance but, was a place for social gathering and a chance for neighbors to keep in touch. This is shown in depth in Boston, by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter and in Salem, by Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible. Both towns are perfect models of the churches’ affect on their communities.

Both towns were settled by immigrants from England seeking religious freedom from the theocracies in Europe. In each town the church became a leading force in the local government. The church could influence the courts to impose legal penalties on crimes against the Ten Commandments. Crimes such as adultery, in The Scarlet Letter, and worshiping other gods, The Crucible, were violations of the commandments and carried significant civil penalties. The church influenced the community “to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might challenge the church’s institutional values.”

In The Scarlet Letter, Boston even held special Election Day sermons. These were then followed by a special procession given by the town for the “minister whom they so loved.” However, these beloved church leaders were not the perfect devout workers of God that they professed to be. Reverend Dimmesdale, was an adulterer and father of an illegitimate child. Reverend Danforth of The Crucible, was a money hungry old man who appeared to be preaching for his own greedy, personal gain. Both men, however, were allowed to get away with their sins for a while because no one dared question the people who gave them their spiritual enlightenment. These men were, after all, the same men who were responsible for the church that stood at the center of not only the town, but also the morality and values that guided the lives of the people who lived in it.

It is somewhat ironic that in both novels, the persecution of women in puritan communities for crimes, which were sins against the church, took place in religious societies formed by those seeking relief from religious persecution. In each book, persecution of those who dared be different by breaking the communities accepted religious values, is apparent. Hester, the adulteress, and Abigail, the adulteress “witch”, were both persecuted for their actions.

In conclusion, it is very clear that the common theocratic theme of societal values based on puritanical religious beliefs controlled the day-to-day lives of the communities in The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. The effect that religious conformity had on the lives of the community and persecution for nonconformity can not be overlooked in these works of Hawthorne or Miller.

Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthornes book, The Scarlet Letter, uses physical appearance to mirror a characters physiological or spiritual state. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember as having taken a brief part in the scene of Hester Prynnes disgrace, is a complex character. The young minister, whose health had severely suffered, of late, by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation. Hawthorne is making the reader aware of Mr. Dimmesdale leaving them to ask themselves why he is getting sick. Is it because he has some hidden guilt or sin?

Dimmesdale is sick because of the nknown truth between him and Hester Prynne, which leads up to Hester Prynnes daughter Pearl, the scarlet vision. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole, softly towards him, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender . . . little Pearls unwanted mood of sentiment last no longer; she laughed, and went capering down the hall. Pearl, not known to be kind to anyone except her mother, laid her cheek on Reverend Dimmesdales hand to show there is a connection between Dimmesdale and little Pearl.

Furthermore, old Roger Chillingworth is an important character o the story. Hester Prynne . . . perceived what change had come over his features, – how much uglier they were, – how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen, – since the days she had familiarly known him. Roger Chillingworth is looking to seek out whom Hester had slept with. He loved her and the pain of not knowing who committed this crime with her was eating at his soul and tearing away his physical appearance. There are hints that the author leaves to let us think about each individual character and the hidden meanings behind them.

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 with themselves. The Scarlet Letter won Hawthorne great critical acclaim, and even today the book remains on the best seller list.

The Scarlet Letter is so popular maybe because generations of readers can interpret it and see subtle meanings that somewhat reflect their own lives. Each of us, has goodness like Hester Prynne, cowardice like Dimmesdale, and even a little evil like Chillingworth. My favorite character in this book was Hester Prynne because even tough she has done wrong, she remains happy, solid, and sane. In the following essay I plan to critically analyze the novel’s protagonist, Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne is a young woman who was sent to the colonies by her husband, who plans to join her later but is presumed lost at sea.

She is a symbol of the aknowledged sinner; a person whose sin has been recognized but has sought repentance. Hester is the public sinner who shows the effect of her punishment on her human nature. She is seen as a fallen woman in the eyes of the village people. Over the seven years of her punishment Hester’s internal struggle with her sin changes from a victim of Puritanical judgement to being a smart woman who is in tune with human nature. When she meets Dimmesdale in the forest in Chapter 18, Hawthorne says, “ The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free.

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. ” What is most remarkeable about Hester Prynne is her strength of character. Her inner strength and honesty and her compassion to others, even ones that have condemned her is what is brought to the reader’s attention throughout the novel. At the beginning of the novel Hester is described as a radiant beauty, however seven years later her beauty is gone and the beautiful hair that she once had is hidden underneath a cap that she wears.

In Chapter 13, she removes the cap and the letter “A” and she becomes the beautiful person that she was before her punishment. I think that this is symbolic in that when she removes her cap and letter she taking off the harsh structure of Puritan society. When Pearl demands that she put back on her cap and letter “ her beauty, the warnth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like Alexander, 3 fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her. ” While her punishment does change her physical appearance, it has a deeper impact on her character.

Despite the lonely life that she leads Hester somehow finds an inner strength to defy both the townspeople and the local government. Hester’s strength is apparent also in dealing with her husband, Chillingworth and her lover, Dimmesdale. This source of strength comes from recognizing her sin and dealing with the consequences. She has nothing but the strength of her spirit to sustain her. This inner peace that she has is recognized by the changing attitude of the community when they begin to think of her not as an adulterer but as an angel of goodness. Hester was also honest.

She openly acknowledges her sin and does not try to hide the letter from the townspeople, but wears it with dignity. By recognizing her sin she remains sane, even though her life had been difficult and somewhat bitter. Finally Hester becomes an angel of compassion and mercy who eventually lives out a life as a figure of sensitivity in the community. She becomes known for her charitable deeds by helping the poor and suffering. Her shame in herself by the judgements of others make her respond to other victims of society and of the world. In time the Puritan society sees the letter not as meaning adultery, but as “angel” or “able”.

She being a victim of the harsh society in which she lived made her more sensitive Alexander, 4 to other victims of society. Her sensitivity turns her symbolic meaning from a person whose life was originally sinful and of an evil nature to a woman who is strong and sensitive with a respect for treating people kindly and with respect. In her final years “the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something the world sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too.

Since her character is strongly tied to the scarlet letter, Hester represents the public sinner who changes and learns from her own sorrow to understand the humanity of others. Often when people suffer a great loss in their lives or experiences that change their lives they become survivors with an increased understanding and sympathy for the human losses of others. I think that Hester is such a symbol because she triumphed over tragedy. She went against society for the love of a man.

Even though she was wrong in committing adultry the love that she had for Dimmesdale broke through the bonds of her marriage to Chillingworth. In the end, Hester’s strength, honesty, and sensitivity carry her down the pathway of life. While Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold after his confession and Chillingworth dies of his own bitter hatred , she lives on enduring a quiet life in Colonial Boston. The scarlet letter made her what she was and through her suffering she became a stronger person and found peace.

The novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester’s experiences in and out of the Puritan society and the weight of the scarlet letter change her in many ways, including her level of confidence, her appearance and her outlook on the Puritan people, and the way she feels about the letter “A”. Due to the sin committed by Hester she became the outcast of the Puritan community. She was forced to begin a new life on her own with no support from anyone. The sudden vicissitudes in her life cause a great transformation in Hester.

In the beginning of the novel Hester shows a tremendous amount of confidence, which she is not afraid to show, but eventually she hides this boldness and yields to the torment of the Puritan people. When Hester is being led out of the jail by the town beadle “she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free will. ” (Pg 60) By stepping out of the jail like this Hester showed and amazing amount of courage, knowing that she was about to receive the peoples’ mockery.

While Hester displayed confidence here, later in the novel she doesn’t show that assurance as much, and receives the ridicule with embarrassment and broken heartedness. The people of the town “were accustomed to distill drops of bitterness into her heart” but “Hester had schooled herself long and well; she never responded to these attacks, save by a flush of crimson that rose irrepressibly over the pale cheek. ” (Pg 88) Hester emerged from the jail with strength but was forced to change, and hide this strength to get along the best she could and continue to support herself and her daughter.

Living outside of the Puritan society allowed Hester to change the way she saw the people of the town and the way she looked herself. Hester lived on the outskirts of town and was no longer a real part of the community, because of this she was able to see people from a different point of view. “The scarlet letter had endowed her with a new sense. She shuddered to believe that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. ” (Pg 89) Also Hester’s appearance changed.

Living away from the Puritan society and the constant presence of the scarlet letter caused this. Hester was once a “young woman with a figure of perfect elegance and dark abundant hair and a face so beautiful. ” (Pg 60) The effect of the symbol caused “ all the light and graceful foliage of her character to whither up by this red-hot brand. ” (Pg 157) She changed form an attractive person to a harsh repulsive figure. At the end of the novel, Hester was no longer completely ashamed of her letter “A” but actually had some pride in wearing it.

The scarlet letter was given to Hester as a form of punishment for her sin and caused extreme embarrassment. “Continually did she fell the innumerable throbs of anguish that had been so convincingly contrived for her by the undying, the ever active sentence of the Puritan tribunal. ” (Pg 88) Though embarrassed, Hester still did good things and ended up wearing the letter with pride. “Such helpfulness was found in her that many people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original signification.

They said that it meant “Able. Pg 156) Hester could go into town without people looking at her as though she were evil. Being branded with the scarlet letter allowed Hester to change in many ways, most of which led her to become a better person. The scarlet A permitted Hester to leave the conformity of the Puritan community and form her own perspectives and opinions. The larger idea presented to us by Hester’s transformation is that sometimes people that are perceives as being sinful or improper are really the better people overall.

Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a compelling story which explores the inner emotions of the human mind, spirit, and the heart. Set around the 1640s in a Boston Puritan society, it focuses on the moral issue revolving around the virtue of truth and the evil of secret sin. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a man of profound knowledge of religion and a true devotee of God, commits a crime of passion with the young and married Hester Prynne. The Puritan society, which barely tolerates any sin, seeks out Hester Prynne and punishes her by making her wear the scarlet letter “A”.

Even though, Arthur Dimmesdale escapes punishment from the Puritan society, he endures an excruciating amount of pain that he brings forth onto himself. Due to the weakness in Dimmesdale’s character and the guilt that comes from within, he is forced to carry the tremendous weight of concealing his sin on his soul and heart. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale lives in a world of hypocrisy which is brought on by the strong sense of guilt he feels that’s a burden on his soul. As a minister, Dimmesdale is believed to be absolutely pure who follows his own teachings.

People think, ” The young divine. . . was considered by his more fervent admirers as little less that heavenly and ordained apostle. . . ” (119), about the clergyman. However, Dimmesdale being a hypocrite, urges his congregations to confess their sins openly and then himself refrains from doing the same. He is afraid of what the society’s reactions could be towards him and he would be released from his duties to God. Once, Dimmesdale directly tells Hester to confess at the scaffold.

He says, ” ‘ . . . Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, that to hide a guilty heart through life ‘ ” (73). Dimmesdale preaches that a person is righteous in admitting their crime rather than carrying the guilt around for the rest of his life. Being unprincipled, Dimmesdale does the exact opposite of his own advice. As a minister of the Puritan church, Dimmesdale holds a very high position in society where everyone looks up to him as a role model.

He feels very guilty in his heart knowing that he has committed a sin. People identify him as a guiltless and holy man. When people have that kind of a view for him, Dimmesdale feels even more pressured and sinful. He yearns to speak out the truth to make people abandon his false image of a perfectionist. Dimmesdale wants to say, ” ‘. . . -I whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthy track, . . . I, -who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children, . . . -I, your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and lie! (140).

Constantly, Dimmesdale is punishing himself by allowing such feelings of torment deteriorate him emotionally. He believes he has an enormous responsibility to God and his followers. By concealing the truth from his followers, Dimmesdale feels he’s deceiving God. Just as he feels sinful about living as a hypocrite, he senses pain when he realizes how much Hester and Pearl have endured. Unable to carry on the responsibility of being a caring father and a beloved husband, Arthur Dimmesdale feels guilty.

This sense of guilt consumes him, furthermore, increasing his anguish when he sees Hester suffering alone for the crime they both perpetrate. The first time Dimmesdale gets up on the scaffold with the rest of his family, he says to Hester, ” ‘ Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. . . ‘ “(148). Dimmesdale wants Hester to know that he realizes how hard it’s been for her to go through the humiliation and suffering. At the moment, he decides to share Hester’s repentance by standing next to her.

Pearl, too, stands on the scaffold with them. Dimmesdales feels a lot of love for his daughter. When Pearl is about to meet Dimmesdale, he says, ” ‘ . . . how my heart dreads this interview, and yearns for it!. . . Yet Pearl, twice in her little lifetime hath been kind to me! . . . ” (196). He’s scared that what if Pearl doesn’t expect him as her father and at the same time he feels excited to meet her. The reader can see how it must have been hard for Dimmesdale to deny Pearl as his daughter in the village just so he can keep his sin secret.

He is unable to accept his family in front of the Puritans because of Dimmesdale’s guilt of not complying of being their role model. To keep his sin disguised and not being able to admit his guilt , he afflicts himself with wounds during which he witnesses hallucinations. He sees, “. . . through the chamber which these spectral thoughts had made so ghastly, glided Hester Prynne, leading along little Pearl in her scarlet garb and pointing her forefinger, first at the scarlet letter on her bosom, and then at the clergyman’s own breast”(142).

This quote shows how he feels he did injustice towards his family for letting them suffer alone. Dimmesdale thinks that Pearl blames him for the unusual childhood she has due to the crime. His soul, even after carrying so much guilt, conveys a tragic flaw as well. Another force that puts Dimmesdale through unnecessary anguish is his weakness of not acknowledging publicly that he committed a sin. He aspires to become a perfectionist but ends up having poor will power. Throughout the novel, the reader sees the minister trying to justify his crime through excuses.

From the beginning, Dimmesdale knows there is only one way to pay penance which is admitting his guilt. At first, he indirectly suggests an explanation for his secret sin. Dimmesdale tell Chillingworth, ” ‘ . . . they are kept silent by the very constitution of their nature. Or- can we not suppose it? -guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God’s glory and man’s welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because . . . no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service.

So to their own unutterable torment, they go about among their fellow-creatures looking pure . . . while their hearts are speckled and spotted. . . ‘ ” (130). Dimmesdale wants to justify his action by saying that if man commits a sin, then he will be punished by God only. He’s trying to say that what’s the use of being looked at by lower standards through the eyes of human beings when God will discipline the person harshly anyway. One of the other reasons is that he believes it’s in good faith to continue to do God’s work even when he isn’t following on the path of God.

Dimmesdale despises himself for his inability to confess and he even inflicts many body injuries. Rev. Dimmesdale apprehends the fact that he has to admit his crime before the world. He says to Hester, ” ‘ . . . Else I should long ago have thrown off their garments of mock holiness and have shown myself to mankind as they will see me at the judgment seat. Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret! Thou little knowest what a relief, after the torment of a seven years’ cheat, to look into an eye that recognizes me for what I am! . ‘ ” (183).

When Reverend Dimmesdale finally decides to admit he had committed a sin of adultery in front of the whole Puritan village, he still needs strength from Hester to carry him up to the scaffold. Pearl is also right by Dimmesdale holding his hand. To overcome his weakness, Dimmesdale uses the support of his family, Hester and Pearl, very successfully. Reverend Dimmesdale’s weakness in character and the load of guiltiness he feels is the cause of hiding his crime from the society.

Due to the constant struggles within himself, Dimmesdale is finally able admit his sin and die a peaceful death on the scaffold where the whole ordeal had began. Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Dimmesdale as a frail human being who is able to overcome a lot of agony with the strength of truth. The clergyman’s life and death leaves us an important moral to remember: ” Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred! ” (242).

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism is a clever technique used by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his infamous novel The Scarlet Letter. Some of the symbols that are conveyed in this novel are very easy to decipher. However, some of the symbols could be hard to unmask. Therefore, the reader is forced to analyze the material thoroughly in order to get a full meaning of the message which Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to get across. Symbolism in this novel is not a technique used for the purpose of stumping a reader, it is rather used for the purpose of making the novel more profound and interesting. One would say that Nathaniel Hawthorne achieved this goal impressively.

He not only introduces certain symbols, but he also uses them throughout the book allowing them to take on various meanings. In addition, he not only portrays objects and people as symbols, but he also uses symbols in some of his characters names. If one were to look closely at the names of the characters, one would be able to decipher the characters personalities. For instance, when reading a name like Dimmesdale or Chillingworth one would know that these characters are not happy campers. If the reader is confused by the plot, it is helpful for the author to reveal the characters traits by providing symbolism in the names.

By using symbolism, Hawthorne creates characters that emphasis a certain trait, which gives them a more human quality. Dimmesdale (the minister) and Chillingworth (the doctor), as mentioned before, are two examples of characters who include symbolism in their names. The name Dimmesdale, as one can see, possesses the word Dim in it. This should give the reader a clue as to how this characters mood is. In this novel this character is a very unhappy and gloomy man. As for the name Chillingworth, one can see that it possesses the word Chilling in it. This would tell a reader that this character is spooky and one to be scared of.

Using symbolism in characters names is a clever and interesting technique. The letter A (the scarlet letter) is one of the symbols that is most obvious, yet one of the most profound. It is the literal symbol of the sin of adultery. However, throughout the novel this letter takes on different meanings to different characters. For instance, the scarlet letter is a reminder to Dimmesdale of his own guilt, but to Hester the letter is a symbol of humiliation. Furthermore, to Pearl the letter A is something mysterious, while to the Puritans of the town it is just a form of punishment.

Some of the other important symbols in this novel, The Scarlet Letter, are the scaffold, the forest, and of course, Pearl. The scaffold is a very significant symbol because it is the place where sins are openly acknowledged. Hester Pryne stood upon this scaffold while the Puritans of the town looked at her in disgust, knowing of her sin. Dimmesdale however equally guilty of this same sin did not stand upon the scaffold beside Hester. Even though guilt-ridden of this he knew at the time he could not reveal himself as her lover. He was unable to confess.

Therefore, Dimmesdale later knew that this is the place where he must go for redemption. The forest, on the other hand, is a symbol of evil and darkness. It was thought that this was where witches met and where people signed their souls away. However, it is also a symbol of freedom for Hester and Pearl. This is where Hester could take off her letter A from her chest and let her hair down. It is also where Pearl could run around and play. Pearl is a character who is portrayed as a living symbol of her mothers sin of adultery. Like the scarlet letter, Pearl is a reminder as well as a consequence (punishment) of Hesters sin.

As she got older, she constantly tormented Hester with questions about the scarlet letter. She also refused to come to Hester when Hester threw the letter A on the ground. She refused to come to Hester until she put the letter back on. Although Pearl seemed like she was a punishment for Hester, she actually became her salvation. Although only a few symbols have been mentioned, symbolism proves to be a major aspect in this novel, The Scarlet Letter. By using symbolism, Nathaniel Hawthorne not only challenges the minds of many but also sends out important messages concerning life.

Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne’s novel describes the life of an adulteress, Hester Prynne, who is shunned by her judgmental community. She gave birth to her daughter Pearl out of wedlock, while her “partner of iniquity,”(Hawthorne 59) a minister named Arthur Dimmesdale, never revealed his “black secret” of their affair. Although Hester suffered public ridicule, the minister suffered no immediate consequence. However, guilt has a way of killing a person silently. In the end, Dimmesdale’s black secret had a greater negative impact on him than Pearl, who was the consequence of sin, had on Hester.

This is because Dimmesdale chose to hide his sin from the church but Hester had no way to conceal her sin. Dimmesdale watched Hester and Pearl take all the blame and ridicule for the lovers sins, and he avoided his family in order to preserve his image. Although Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale had numerous opportunities to confess the truth of his sin to his church, he chose to hold the black secret inside himself. On the other hand, Hester Prynne could not hide the truth because Pearl and the scarlet letter “A” were open confessions of her sin.

Hester had committed adultery and she felt that “God, as a direct consequence of the sin, had given her a child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom. “(82) Pearl was sent from God as a reminder to Hester and the Puritan community of her sin each and every day. However, Hester chose not to tell who Pearl’s father was. “Pearl was the scarlet letter in another form, the scarlet letter endowed with life. “(88) Pearl and the scarlet letter were one in the same. Both represented Hester’s sin she carried with her day after day.

Both brought shame to her life. “On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread, appeared the letter A. ” The embarrassment Hester felt could not have exceeded Dimmesdale’s guilty conscience. He felt ashamed for not confessing to the church congregation that he had played a large role in the horrific sin. He had several chances to confess his black secret, but he did not do so. With each passing failure to disclose the truth, he grew more and more dark and disgraced.

One example was when Dimmesdale spoke to Hester on the scaffold, which was a high platform located in the middle of the town. Dimmesdale tried to persuade her to announce her partner in this sinful act. When she refused to acknowledge him, he was extremely relieved. He quickly said, “She will not speak! Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman’s heart! She will not speak! “(64) Dimmesdale was also given an opportunity to confess at Governor Bellingham’s estate, when they were deciding whether Hester should be allowed to raise Pearl. Dimmesdale did influence their decision, but never once mentioned Pearl was his daughter.

After several failures to be honest, the minister was certain that “it must be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, than to cover it up in his heart. ” He remained silent and the black secret slowly ate away at his soul, transforming him from a young, lively minister to a coward. Hester suffered greatly from the community’s knowledge of Pearl as an “elfish child,”(162) but she endured far less agony than Dimmesdale, who became seriously ill, because he watched his love and his child take the blame for a sin he helped commit.

The Puritan community was severely cruel towards Hester and Pearl. When Hester and Pearl walked into the market place, the townspeople formed a circle around Hester and Pearl and viciously mocked them. At other times, the Puritan children allowed them to pass and then ridiculed them. Hester grew to dread children because they were exactly like their parents, crude, judgmental hypocrites. A different torture was felt in the watching eyes of strangers. The strangers curiously stared at the scarlet letter upon her bosom, so that Hester could “scarcely refrain from covering the symbol with her hand. 165) Yet, Hester never did. She allowed the scarlet letter to burn deep into her soul. The Puritans not only harassed Hester and Pearl in the market place, but also at their cottage. Children went to the cottage and watched Hester and Pearl garden or sew, and if they glanced up, the children ran away. Such actions made Hester and Pearl feel different from everyone else. The people of the community, through their harsh judgments and ridiculing remarks, caused Hester and her daughter great suffering, but Dimmesdale’s torment was immeasurable.

His choice to keep his black secret hidden deep within his soul resulted in the deterioration of his health both mental and physical. “With every successive Sabbath, his cheeks grew paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before. “(132) Each time he stood before the congregation and delivered a sermon, he grew weaker and more ashamed. Dimmesdale was allowing the love of his life, Hester, and his beautiful daughter to take all the hatred and contempt for their sin. As an outward sign of his guilt and mental anguish, pressing his hand over his heart had now become a constant habit, rather than a casual gesture.

This particular gesture represented the inner agony that Dimmesdale faced each day, an inner agony that was beyond any misery he had ever experienced. He suffered under a bodily disease, “if it be the souls disease it gnawed and tortured him, by some black trouble of the heart. “(126) Dimmesdale had a disease, a disease of the heart. His heart was broken. He had made an immoral decision to commit adultery, and then magnified this decision when he chose to hide his sin. Dimmesdale’s selfish behavior ultimately caused his death.

He became so ill by the time he confessed his sin that his health could not be recovered. His soul was already dead, murdered by his own weakness in character. Dimmesdale had a choice. He chose his congregation over the woman he loved and his daughter, in order to remain the most respected man in his community. This was a choice that caused him to suffer much more than Hester and Pearl did. Fortunately, Hester and Pearl had each other to love and confide in. This is another reason Hester and Pearls suffering was not as great as Dimmesdales.

Pearl always ran about, picking flowers, smiling and laughing happily, while Hester watched with content eyes. Hester talked “with never any companion, but one small child, Pearl. ” She never traveled, but with Pearl. Hester never laughed, but with Pearl, nor cried but with Pearl. The only family they had was each other. Together Hester and Pearl faced many obstacles. They were condemned together, rejected together, mocked together and judged together. Through all of these trials, Hester and Pearl then grew stronger. In contrast, Dimmesdale grew weaker.

He felt he had not a soul to share with. He could not talk to Hester and Pearl, for fear his black secret would be uncovered. He was alone in the world, with no one to confide in. Dimmesdale finally chose to risk his reputation and arranged to see Hester and Pearl in the forest. After Hester took off the scarlet letter and after Dimmesdale agreed to abandon his false position in his church, they were both bathed in sunlight. They had a glorious time talking and consoling each other. However, their joy quickly ended when seeing Pearl reminded them of their sin.

The two lovers had to face the truth that as long as Dimmesdale kept the secret of their affair, they could never be together. With the black secret buried deep within his soul, Dimmesdale definitely suffered more than Hester and Pearl suffered. Dimmesdale hid his sin from the congregation, watched Hester and Pearl receive all the punishment for their sin, and lived in torment and solitude in order to maintain his image. The Puritans judged Hester as an awful, unrighteous person, when they too were unrighteous. They were trying to play God.

In the Puritan society, Dimmesdale failed to tell the truth, because of this he hurt many other people in his path. Nathaniel Hawthorne was trying to convey the message that everyone sins and those who judge sinners are hypocrites because they themselves sin. The author also points out that if a person lies, it not only affects the liar, but everyone he interacts with. A domino effect occurs. In addition, Hawthorne revealed through his novel that not a man, woman, or child, can go through life without making some mistakes.

Chillingworth as Satan in The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is a novel packed with religious symbolism, and Hawthorne subtly assigns the role of the devil to Roger Chillingworth. Throughout the novel, there are many references and associations that confirm the fact that Chillingworth is representative of the ultimate evil. First, Hawthorne sets Chillingworth up as the antithesis of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the obvious Christ-like symbol of the novel.

Chillingworth avidly sets out to ruin Dimmesdale. As the narrative voice says when referring to Chillingworth’s discovery of the Dimmesdale’s secret, “All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving! ” (96). The capitalization of the words “Pitiless” and “Unforgiving” show that Chillingworth is the devil.

Symbolically, on another more obvious note, Chillingworth steals one of Dimmesdale’s gloves and drops it on the scaffold where sinners are shamed in front of the town. The sexton picks it up after recognizing it as Dimmesdale’s and returns it to its owner saying, “Satan dropped it there” (108). This is a very obvious pointer to the fact that Chillingworth is the devil. Second, Hawthorne’s use of imagery in describing Chillingworth points him out as the devil.

Chillingworth is described as misshapen and hunched. He is compared to weeds and such. His profession is described as being much like witchcraft. For example, he grasps a “dark, flabby leaf found near a grave. ” All of this darkness denotes the presence of evil. Third, Pearl’s reaction to Chillingworth shows his true face. When she sees him looking at her, she says, “Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the Minister already” (93). This is another obvious statement.

Roger Chillingworth, a great man indeed

Today there are not many people that have a good strong set of morals, and yet there are some people that have to strong a set. Those with not enough morals commit crimes and do not have good reason or do not care about the consequences. While those with too strong of morals do not stick up for them selves or exact punishment on those that deserve it. There is a guy that I am reading about though, who has a good balance of morals and sticks to them.

His name is Roger Chillingworth, and he may seem to be a little evil at times or over obsessive about revenge, but he has the intentions of a good and wise sole. Roger was “clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume”, which may make him appear devilish, but it is only because he was taken hostage by Indians. In actuality Roger Chillingworth is a great scholar, so great in fact that he is described as “someone who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself”.

Roger had a furrowed visage, and his eyes were dim and blurred from reading to many books under lamplight. Roger Chillingworth was an older man and was mildly deformed, “It was sufficiently evident to Hester Prynne that one of this man’s shoulder rose higher than the other. ” This deformity may also make him seem hideous or monster like, but it is just a sign of his age. Roger Chillingworth, although Native Americans captured him, was a refined gentleman, and spoke as one “then touching the shoulder of a townsman who stood next to him, he addressed him, in a formal and courteous manner.

It is Roger’s nature to be calm and cool, and he has the great ability to control his emotions, “His face darkened with some powerful emotion, nevertheless, he so instantaneously controlled by an effort of his will, that, save at a single moment, its expression might have passed for calmness. ” Roger Chillingworth has the “characteristic and quietude of the profession to which he announced himself as belonging”, a doctor. Roger may have been wronged by his wife, but he, having such great morals, placed half of the blame on himself, “It was my folly and thy weakness.

Roger does not want to harm his wife because he feels that his “was the first wrong, therefore as a man who has not thought and philosophized in vain, I seek no vengeance, plot no evil against thee, but the man lives who has wronged us both”, and it takes great will power and a good sense of what is just not to be angry at his wife. Roger doesn’t want to harm the baby either, however he doesn’t want a part of it because he feels that the child is Hester’s. In his own words “she is none of mine—neither will she recognize my voice or aspect as a father’s”.

But after Hester would not give the child medicine, and not wanting an innocent babe to suffer Roger administered the draught himself. Roger does not want to harm is wife as he feels that the “scale hangs fairly balanced” between them, or the baby, but he does want to get redemption. Roger is obsessed with finding the father of the baby, and he speaks strongly about it, “I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in books; as I have sought gold in alchemy” “sooner or later, he must needs be mine”, but the magistrates also want to find the man so it doesn’t make Chillingworth a bad person.

Roger Chillingworth wants to see this man tremble, but he wants to do it in a just way, “think not That I shall interfere with Heaven’s own method of retribution, or, to my own loss, betray him the gripe of human law. Neither do thou imagine that i shall contrive aught against his life; no, nor his fame”, so Chillingworth isn’t going to break the law, or commit a sin, he just wants the father to get what he deserves. Roger Chillingworth may act coldly toward Hester and obsess on getting revenge, which to some people may seem like an unmoral want, but if he just lets the betrayer of his trust get away with sin isn’t that unmoral also?

Is it not the right thing to do to make a sinner give restitution for his sins, just as the magistrates have made Hester pay for her sin? Roger Chillingworth is going to do his moral duty by making the unknown father accept his punishment, but Roger will do it in such a way as not to infringe on the other morals that he has, therefore he has a good balance of rights and wrongs and is not evil, but a moral civil servant.

Pearl: Believable Or Not

Throughout the book Pearl either says or does things that are not typical of a girl of her age. After Hester talks to Chillingworth, Pearl is asked if she knows why Hester wears the scarlet letter. Pearl replies, It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart. I do not believe that a seven your old girl could be observant enough to discover that the same reason that Dimmesdale puts his hand over his heart is the same reason that Hester wears the scarlet letter.

If the whole town did not discover that there was something going on between Dimmesdale and Hester, then how could pearl? Another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale are talking in the forest, and Dimmesdale decides to give Pearl a kiss. Pearl then walks over to the brook and washes off the kiss. Pearl seemed to like Dimmesdale previous to this incident, and now all of a sudden, she does not like Dimmesdale enough to not wipe off his kiss?

Yet another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when she is walking in the woods alone, she says, Why art thou so sad? Pluck up a spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring! “. If a young girl believes that a brook can be sad, that shows some serious mental problems. Most children would think of a brook as a brook, not a sad brook, and tell it to pluck up its spirit. Also in the forest when Pearl is talking to Hester, Pearl says, And so it is! And, mother, he has his hand over his heart!

Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?. I do not believe that Pearl would know that Arthur Dimmesdale has sinned, and even if she did know, how could she be smart enough to know that he wore his shame in secrecy. No child seven years old could determine that, even if they where extremely smart and observant. Those are just a few of the reasons that Pearl is not a believable child.

Pearl also showed signs of a normal, somewhat believable child. An example of her being believable is at the Governors mansion, Pearl is asked by Mr. Wilson who made her, Pearl says that she was plucked by her mother from a rose bush. Sounds like a typical three year old saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Yet another example of how Pearl is a believable child is at the festival when the seamen asks Pearl to relay a message to Hester and pearl replies, “If the message pleases me I will.

I believe that most seven year olds would come up with something quite similar to that. Another good example of Pearl being believable is when she threw the stones at the sea birds. I believe that a typical girl of her age would do the same thing out of curiosity and boredom. Throughout a full day Pearl relentlessly asks Hester why she wears the scarlet letter. Even though Hester repeatedly tells Pearl to stop asking, Pearl keeps it up, typical of a seven-year-old child.

Ethan Frome By Wharton

When Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his novel, The Scarlet Letter, he was praised as being the father of the psychological novel. Since the completion of his landmark story, many other authors have taken their work in similar directions, and have tried to reveal human psychology through their writing. Authors have been trying to convey truths about human behavior and explain the human psyche, often unsuccessfully. Edith Whartons novel, Ethan From, is an excellent example of a novel that succeeds in revealing truths.

She fills her characters with nuances that reflect the subconscious and her setting is alive with eflected symbolism. She is able to interpret the characters actions in a way that can relate to all humans. Each word and phrase seems to be chosen so that it reflects a part of the subconscious in the characters. Edith Whartons Ethan Frome is a psychological examination of the human mind, based on her use of setting to reflect emotion, characterization to show human tendencies towards chaos and other psychological aspects of the human mind.

In Ethan Frome, Wharton uses the setting to show the feelings and psychology of the characters. Because the tone of the novel is somber and the characters suffer greatly, Wharton used he gothic technique of matching the scenery to the characters emotions. The principal setting of the novel is Starkfield, which is a small farming based community. The houses are mostly several miles from the center of town. Richard Worth, a literary critic, says of Starkville, even the name suggests utter desolation (64). The name of the town gives the initial impression of the mindset of the characters: hopelessness.

The New England winter the physical landscape can reinforce psychic tensions oppressing the people in the community (McDowell 85). The narrator, Harmon Gow, describes he setting and says, the winter set down on Starkfield, and the village lay under a sheet of snow, perpetually renewed from the pale skies(7). During the entirety of the novel, the Starkfield weather is brutally cold and snowy. Because winter and coldness are some of the predominant images n the book, it was first published under the title LHiver, which means winter in French.

The snow and cold restate the cruelty of the characters situations. The setting, using the bleakness of winter, provides a complicated time scheme through which the author could dramatically contrast the bleak existence of her haracters in the present with their youthful expectations in the past. (McDowell 74). The winter scenery provides testament to things gone wrong, almost a romantic styled sympathy of nature. The color scheme used to describe the setting mirrored the desolation of the characters feelings. The black shade of the varnum spruces becomes gray under the stars (Wharton 34).

The gray of the backdrop symbolized the disturbance between what was right and what was best for Ethan. . There is no sharp line between the normal and abnormal psyche, nor between the real and supernatural. In the vast remote area, covered y snow, the sharp line between psychic dislocation and spirit world dissolves (McDowell 85). The absence of a sharp line was shown with the used of an intermediate gray tone, which was seen recurring thorough out the novel. There was no right or wrong in his case, hence the blend of the two colors, black and white, into gray.

Wharton even used actual physical objects to represent characters from the novel, such as blighted apple trees which have bent from the weight of snow. Ethan is symbolically the apple tree because of his physical deformities as well as the mental burdens he has faced during his life. Ethan talks in the novel about removing the L shaped projection from off of his house. I had to take down the L a while back (Wharton 22). The action of Ethan removing part of his house parallels his feelings of loss for his family and Mattie. It shows his misery.

Because of her excellent use of imagery and description of the setting, Edith Wharton is able to incorporate the psychological elements of the characters onto the backdrop of the action of the novel. One of the predominant motifs of Ethan Frome is the feeling of isolation. Again this is a theme that is reflected by the setting, but it is also seen in he characters actions as well. The setting also captures the pervasive isolation of the citizens of Starkfield (Springer 80). Starkfield its self is a means of external isolations, as it is a small town village that receives little to no news of the outside world.

With in Starkfield, the placement of the Frome house further isolates the characters. The house is on the fringe of the town and has no neighbors within at least 5 miles. Even if Ethan was closer to town and could establish communications with people other than Zeena, he would still have feel separation. The Frome household is cut off from the community f Starkfield both literally and in terms of the depth of its suffering (Goodwyn 76). Ethan had a life time so filled with tragedy and disappointments that it would have been impossible for the average farmer of Starkfield to relate to him or understand Ethans position.

Within the house, Zeena and Ethan are clearly isolated from each other, due to Zeenas illness and Ethans unhappiness. Its inmates are even isolated from each other in the extremity of their need (Goodwyn 76). The ultimate irony of the novel is when Ethan and Mattie are isolated from each other due to Matties injuries. The aspect of isolation ortrayed through the setting and actions of the characters contributes to the establishment of Whartons Ethan Frome as a psychological novel. The characters of Ethan Frome seem to crave disorder and use it as a means of security.

The characters put themselves into situations that present confusion and chaos. Zeena is a prime example of a character that is unable to face reality and uses imaginary illnesses to compensate for the things that her life lacks. She spends her life caring for others to compensate for her own personal shortcomings and insecurities. When Zeena had no one left to care for, she then ame down with a series of illnesses. Zeenas absorption in her ailments, whether real or imagined, is her chosen form of physical gratification (Fedorko 64).

Zeena gives herself an imaginary illness, which requires her to travel to quack doctors and buy exotic, as well as expensive, wonder drugs. Zeenas illness gives her an escape and some have even proposed that it gives her a sense of identity. In this aspect of needing chaos, Ethan is no better than Zeena. When Ethans mother becomes ill, Zeena arrives at the Frome farm to nurse her back to health. After Mrs. Frome dies, Ethan marries Zeena out of a ense of obligation and appretation. After the death of both of his parents, Ethan could have started his life over, concentrating in engineering, his passion.

Because of his obvious insecurities, he clung to Zeena for comfort and support. Ethan needed something in his life to stop him from becoming his own person because of his insecurities. Another example of Ethans need for chaos is his haphazard romance with Mattie. Had Ethan carefully planned out their escape, or at the least, just waited a few months longer, he and Mattie could have lived happily ever after. He was close to over coming his perverse need for haos, but then his subconscious surfaced again and caused his plans to be ruined.

The characters could have simply waited until spring to escape, and gone west as Ethan original plan stated. Ethans life would have been near perfect, but his insecurities stopped him. He lacked the confidence and faith in his actions to take a stand. He was able to have security in making plans, and the relief in knowing that he would never follow through. The psychological aspect of Ethan and Zeenas need for chaos established Ethan Frome as a psychological novel. Mattie Silver is, in ever aspect, the symbol of hope in Ethan Frome. She is the faint glimmer of light that Ethan holds on to that makes his life bearable.

Because of Edith Whartons excellent use of imagery and description, Ethan Frome is a masterfully written example of a psychological novel. By just the use of description of setting, Wharton sets the tone and mental conditions of the characters. The novel is rich in analysis of the psyche and this is projected into the minds and actions of the characters. Edith Whartons Ethan Frome is a timeless classic that subtly and creatively lets readers understand the hidden depths of the human mind through psychological aspects present in the novel.

The Scarlet Letter – Pearl Belieavble or Not

Pearl could, or could not be a believable character in The Scarlet Letter depending on how the reader interprets Pearls actions and speech. I plan to prove that Pearl could be believable, and that she could net be believable. Throughout the book Pearl either says or does things that are not typical of a girl of her age. After Hester talks to Chillingworth, Pearl is asked if she knows why Hester wears the scarlet letter. Pearl replies, It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart.

I do not believe that a seven your old girl could be observant enough to discover that the same reason that Dimmesdale puts his hand over his heart is the same reason that Hester wears the scarlet letter. If the whole town did not discover that there was something going on between Dimmesdale and Hester, then how could pearl? Another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale are talking in the forest, and Dimmesdale decides to give Pearl a kiss. Pearl then walks over to the brook and washes off the kiss.

Pearl seemed to like Dimmesdale previous to this incident, and now all of a sudden, she does not like Dimmesdale enough to not wipe off his kiss? Yet another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when she is walking in the woods alone, she says, Why art thou so sad? Pluck up a spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring! ”. If a young girl believes that a brook can be sad, that shows some serious mental problems. Most children would think of a brook as a brook, not a sad brook, and tell it to pluck up its spirit.

Also in the forest when Pearl is talking to Hester, Pearl says, And so it is! And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?. I do not believe that Pearl would know that Arthur Dimmesdale has sinned, and even if she did know, how could she be smart enough to know that he wore his shame in secrecy. No child seven years old could determine that, even if they where extremely smart and observant.

Those are just a few of the reasons that Pearl is not a believable child. Pearl also showed signs of a normal, somewhat believable child. An example of her being believable is at the Governors mansion, Pearl is asked by Mr. Wilson who made her, Pearl says that she was plucked by her mother from a rose bush. Sounds like a typical three year old saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Yet another example of how Pearl is a believable child is at the festival when the seamen asks Pearl to relay a message to Hester and pearl replies, “If the message pleases me I will.

I believe that most seven year olds would come up with something quite similar to that. Another good example of Pearl being believable is when she threw the stones at the sea birds. I believe that a typical girl of her age would do the same thing out of curiosity and boredom. Throughout a full day Pearl relentlessly asks Hester why she wears the scarlet letter. Even though Hester repeatedly tells Pearl to stop asking, Pearl keeps it up, typical of a seven-year-old child.

The Scarlet Letter – Consequences and Remedies of Din

The Scarlet Letter shows many types of sin. Some is only sin in the Puritan eye, some is internally blamed sin and some is sin only defined back in the time period of pre-Romanticism. Three main characters; Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are the ‘sinners’ of the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorn gives each one very different a consequence and remedy for each ones sin. Hester is publicly punished right away, Dimmesdale has to dwell on his sin for years and Chillingworth is punished abruptly when his sin comes to an end.

Each punishment is different and holds its own lesson. Hester was forced into the marriage of a man she did not love, and after being separated for a long amount of time, she became attracted to another man. She then falls into a spell of passion with Reverend Dimmesdale. She then becomes pregnant with Dimmesdale’s baby, obviously revealing her ‘sin’. She is sent to the Scaffold to be mocked by all and is forced to reveal the father of the child. She refuses and then for her sins, received a scarlet letter, “A” which she had to wear upon her chest for the rest of her life in Boston.

She wondered the streets and was given bitter looks from all. This was the Puritan way of punishing her for her then criminal action of adultery. The Scarlet Letter on her bosom does the exact opposite of that which it was meant for. Eventually, Hester upsets all the odds against here due to her courage, pride and effort. Hester goes beyond the letter of the law and does everything asked of her in order to prove that she is “able”(158). Hester, even though she was more appreciated by the Puritans, she still was not respected and her life was never the same.

This eventually caused so much mental and physical anguish that she eventually questioned why she should live if it weren’t for her Pearl. Pearl was a bundle of life sent from god to remind her of her wrong doing each and every moment and as a walking sermon to preach against sin for others. The symbolic Pearl helped Hester overcome her guilt. Hester becomes a highly respected person in a Puritan society by overcoming one of the harshest punishments, the scarlet letter.

After Dimmesdale’s passing away, she remains in the small Boston town as payment of her sin and more importantly as an example to other future women of the town. Hester endures her punishment without a word against it, and grows from it, making her stronger and a woman to be admired from her puritan counterparts, and women today. While Hester tries to make the best out of her situation, Dimmesdale becomes weaker by letting guilt and grief eat away at his conscience, reducing him to a shriveling, pathetic creature.

Since Dimmesdale is a devote Puritan, he cannot accept the loss of innocence and go on from there. He must struggle unsuccessfully to get back to where he was. Dimmesdale punishes himself by believing that he can never be redeemed. He feels that he will never be seen the same in the eyes of God, and that no amount of penitence can ever return him to God’s good graces. He is so touchy on this subject that when Hester says his good deeds will count for something in God’s view, he exclaims, “There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead and can do nothing for me! 202).

The Reverend seems to want to reveal himself, at times he realizes his double standards and comes to the verge of confession, only to goes back to vague proclamations of guilt. But Chillingworth’s influence and his own shame are stronger than his weak conscience. Dimmesdale cannot let go of his untarnished identity that brings him the love and admiration of his congregation. He is far too engaged on his everyday image to willingly reveal his sin. This inability to confess causes Dimmesdale great anguish and self-hatred.

At one point he lashes himself with a whip, and at the end of the book we find that he has inscribed the letter “A” into his own chest. Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out of his life. His life’s work has been dedicated to God, and now his sin has tainted it. He feels that he is a fraud and is not fit to lead the people of the town to salvation. The feeling is so unforgiving that the chance of escaping his work and leaving with Hester and Pearl makes him emotionally (and probably mentally) unstable.

Hester and Dimmesdale decide they will leave their Puritan town that is tying them down. For a short while Hester frees him of his worries when he knows he will not feel the guilt of his everyday life. He walks through the town with an “unaccustomed physical energy”(211), and he barely stops himself from swearing to a fellow deacon. When the eldest member of the church approaches him he cannot remember any scriptures whatsoever to tell her, and the urge to use his power of persuasion over a young maiden is so strong that he covers his face with his cloak and runs off.

But this is only a short stage in Dimmesdale’s collapse. The largest cause of Dimmesdale’s breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. As God’s servant, it is his nature to tell the truth, so the years of pretending and hypocrisy are especially hard on him. His secret guilt is such a burden that instead of going with Hester to England and perhaps having a chance to live longer, he finally triumphs over his weakness. On Elect day, after delivering a moving sermon, he goes up the scaffold and admits that he committed adultery with Hester and that Pearl is his daughter.

After it is done, he dies in Hester’s arms, freed from the unbearable worry of his secret. His death signifies the solution to his sin and he goes to Heaven. Like the two other main characters, Chillingworth is both a victim and a sinner. He is a victim, first of all, of his own physical appearance and self-isolation. He is small, thin, and slightly deformed, with a shoulder being higher than the other. This, coupled with the fact that he has devoted himself almost entirely to his studies, serves to cut him off from the rest of humanity.

He is also a victim of the events that took place before his arrival to the colony. First the Indians capture him. Then, while he is held captive and presumed dead, his wife had a child by another man. Chillingworth’s sin is far greater than either those of Hester or Dimmesdale. His first sin was when he married Hester. He knew that she would never marry him, and yet he made her marry him anyway. He admits this to Hester while they are talking in the jail cell. “Mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed they budding youth into a false and unnatural relation with my decay.

His second, and the main sin is allowing himself to become obsessed with revenge against Dimmesdale. Chillingworth reacts to his wife’s betrayal by sacrificing everything in order to seek revenge. After he discovers that his wife given birth to another man’s child, Chillingworth becomes a far different and evil old man. He used to be a scholar who dedicated his best years “to feed the hungry dream of knowledge,” (74), but his new duty becomes finding and slowly punishing the man who seduced his wife. He soon becomes obsessed with his new mission in life.

Once he targeted Reverend Dimmesdale as the possible parent, he dedicates all of his time to becoming his confidant in order to destroy Dimmesdale’s sanity. This obsession turns him from a peaceful scholar into a “fiend”. Revenge was also one of the reasons that Chillingworth gives up his identity. The only way he can truly destroy Dimmesdale is to live with him and be by his side all day, every day. He succeeds for a long time wearing down Dimmesdale until Hester sees that he was going mad and finally revealed that “That old man! -the physician! -he whom they call Roger Chillingworth! e was (her) husband! “(190).

His largest sacrifice is by far, his own life. After spending so much time dwelling on his revenge, Chillingworth forgets that he still has a chance to lead a life of his own. So, consequently, after Dimmesdale reveals his secret to the world, Chillingworth dies because he has nothing left to live for. In closing, Hawthorn shows sins of several different kinds of people and the consequences and remedies of their sins. Hester is publicly punished right away, Dimmesdale has to dwell on his sin for years and Chillingworth is punished abruptly when his sin comes to an end.

Each punishment is different and holds its own moral lesson. The sins described are sins that we take for granted because people “commit” them in our present day, all the time, and these are excepted and normal. Hawthorne’s opposing idea of Puritanism is beneficial because it can be put into terms in today’s world. The Scarlet Letter is one of the few books that will be timeless, because it deals with alienation, sin, punishment, and guilt, emotions that will continue to be felt by every generation to come.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Condemned to wear a bright red “A” over her breast wherever she went, Hester Prynne had been convicted of adultery by Boston’s Puritan leaders; a child had been born to her during her husband’s long absence. Emerging from the prisonhouse under the gaze of her neighbors, Hester surprised the townsfolk with her air of aloof and silent dignity Led to the town square, she ascended a scaffold, her babe cradled in her arms. There on the scaffold she suffered scorn and public admonishment.

One “good woman” loud ly decried the elaborate letter Hester had embroidered into her frock: blazing scarlet, ornately fashioned nd bordered with prominent gold stitching – the requisite token of her deed. A minister in the crowd denounced her crime and called on her to reveal the identity of her partner. Another minister, Arthur Dimmesdale, pled with her more gently. He, in compassion, also begged her to unmask her lover.

Unknown to the multitude, however, Dimmesdale himself was that lover; his gentle prodding was in fact a distraught and convoluted effort to urge a confession from Hester which he knew she would never make-and which he could not find the courage to make for himself. From her place on the pulpit, Hester’s yes met with those of a hunched, wrinkled man in the crowd, a stranger in the town but well known to her. He was Hester’s husband, a scholar and a physician of sorts, who had spent years away, exploring the western wilderness.

Now he had reappeared under the name of “Roger Chillingsworth. ” Visiting Hester in her prison cell later that day, Chillingsworth expressed his rage that she should betray him and made her swear not to expose him as her husband. Furthermore, he vowed that he would discover the identity of his wife’s lover. Finally released, the adulteress took up residence in a lonely cottage by the sea. Her chief employment, for which she demonstrated a prodigious talent, was sewing. She managed to win the business of nearly everyone in the community.

Still, despite the acceptance she won as a seamstress, Hester was forced to bear social ostracism: children jeered as she passed, other women avoided her, and clergymen pointed to her as a living example of the consequences of sin. Rumors circulated that she was a witch, and that the scarlet letter she bore on her clothing glowed a deep blood red in the dark. Still Hester withstood this abuse without complaint. Hester felt much more concern for her daughter, Pearl, than for herself. She cringed when the illegitimate girl was pushed aside by other children.

In contrast to Hester’s remarkable dignity, Pearl displayed a wild, undisciplined character, seemingly incapable of natural affection. The governor of Boston and all the clergy publicly proclaimed their doubts that the spritelike, curious child could develop the capacity to enter Christian society. Even more tragically, the townspeople looked on Pearl as a kind of evil spirit – the perverse offspring from a moment of unholy passion. Even Hester little understood her daughter, who served t once as both a comfort and a painful reminder of her past.

In the meantime, Roger Chillingsworth had taken lodgings with Minister Dimmesdale. Chillingsworth immediately suspected that the clergyman had been his wife’s once-guilty partner in lust, and, posing as a true friend, he managed, over the course of months, to wring his roommate’s conscience with subtle hints and comments about the dire strait of hypocrites in the eyes of God. Soon it became clear that Dimmesdale was indeed Hester’s lover; but, rather than expose him then, Chillingsworth chose to continue torturing the preacher’s moral sanity.

Dimmesdale’s sense of guilt grew, ultimately causing his health to wane. He took to holding his hand over his heart, as if he felt some deep pain. Yet he failed to recognize the treachery being perpetrated on him, blaming only himself for his growing infirmity. To make matters worse, the weaker and more guilt-ridden Dimmesdale became, the holier he appeared to his congregation, whose members regarded him as unequaled in piety. Every sermon he preached seemed to be more inspired than the last.

More than once the minister resolved to confess his hypocrisy and take his place beside Hester, but he was too fraid of the shame open confession would bring. And so it was that the years passed: Hester, suffering in disgrace and isolation, devoting her life to charitable service and winning the hidden any of her peers; Pearl, maturing admiration of m into a lovely girl but still showing no signs of outgrowing her eccentricities; Dimmesdale, weighed down by unbearable remorse even as his reputation for holiness increased; and Chillingsworth, daily tampering with Dimrnesdate’s fragile conscience.

Frequently the four of them crossed paths. However, no momentous event transpired – until one day seven years after Bester’s nitial public censure. While Hester and Pearl were strolling in the woods, they came upon Dimmesdale, and he and Hester finally savored a long-awaited and emotional reunion. Speaking of their long-kept secret, Hester attempted to assure the minister that his good works and humility had gained him penance.

But the priest cried, “liappy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret! In sorrow and pity, Hester admitted that Chillingsworth, Dimmesdale’s own valued friend, was in fact her estranged husband; and he the nurturin54 demon behind the minister’s living hell.

Then she convinced her dear Dimmesdale to escape with her to Europe, where they could enjoy a new, unfettered life toaether. Their plan was to depart after the minister’ had delivered his final sermon. The day of departure came, and Hester waited anxiously outside the church. Nearby, the captain of the ship on which they would sail mentioned to her that Roger Chillingsworth was also booked as a passenger on his vessel.

So, the evil man intended to follow them, she thought in horror. Their plans were dashed! When the service ended, the townsfolk exited the chapel in a high state of emotion; Minister Dimmesdale had imparted n extraordinarily spiritual message. But to their surprise, Dimmesdale made his way out of the procession and feebly trod toward the scaffold in the marketplace. Then he turned and beckoned Hester and Pearl to come to him. Roger Chillingsworth thrust himself through the crowd and caught the minister by the arm. “Madman, hold!

What is your purpose? ” he whispered frantically. “Wave back that woman! Cast off this child! … Do not blacken your fame, and perish in dishonor! I can yet save you! ” “Ha, tempter! ” Dimmesdale replied. “Me thinks thou art too late! Thy power is not what it was! With God’s help, I shall escape thee now! Then extending his hand to Hester, Dimmesdale admitted to his partnership in her sin, and berated himself for the years he had lived in deceit. Then he focused on Roger Chillingsworth and exposed the true identity and sinister nature of the man.

This done, he turned and mounted the scaffold. His emotional anguish over the years, though, had devastated his body and his spirit: his confession proved to be fatal. As he collapsed on the wooden planks, supported on Hester’s bosom, Dimmesdale bid farewell to his beloved, and then to little Pearl. Finally, in the triumph of a soul at last filled with peace, the minister breathed his ast. (Hawthorne, through his narrator, adds a final chapter, in which he speculates on the fate of the other characters.

He proposes the following: Roger Chillingsworth, hatefully hunched over and shriveled, died within the year; but in syinpathy he left his considerable estate to Pearl. Having come into such wealth, both Pearl and Hester sailed abroad. Hester eventually returned to Boston alone to occupy her old cottage, frequently receiving letters and gifts from her daughter. She became a trusted confidante to scores of local women, but never removed the scarlet letter from her breast. Her gravestone – it is suggested – can still be seen: a plain black headstone with no name engraved; only a blazing scarlet “A”.

Commentary The Scarlet Letter, as one of the first and finest “psychological gothics,” may bewilder modern, TV readers,” who keep waiting for something to happen. The book contains very little dramatic action. The bulk of the novel is occupied by the narrator’s uniquely penetrating descriptions of his characters’ thoughts, feelings and relationships. This narrator also breaks other literary ground: Not content to slip into the background and let the storyline flow, he constantly interrupts the plot, peculating on motives, offering his opinions, and suggesting alternative views.

Sometimes he even takes part in the interactions, as when, in the first chapter, he plucks a rose froi-n a bush outside the town prison and offers it to you, the reader. Furthermore, he claims to be guiding the story through its many macabre twis . ts based on various sources (manuscripts, gossip, rumors and legends) that may or may not be reliable. The reader is often left to chose one or another version of the tale, or to reject them all. Hester Prynne is one of the great heroines of literature.

Though Hawthorne never condones her crime, he is, as described n Harry Levin’s introduction, “concerned to show that fundamental morality is not so much a series of rigorous laws to be enforced by a meddling community as it is an insight to be attained through continuous exertion on the part of the individual conscience. ” An ambiguous blend of sin and virtue, pride and humility, severity and gentleness, justice and mercy, the novel’s true message may lie in what Hawthorne describes as its true genre: The Scarlet Letter, says its author, is not so much a novel as a romance,” filled with details that disclose the “truth of the human heart. “

The Scarlett Letter and Moby Dick

Two distinguished authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, were the only two anti-transcendentalist novelists. They focussed their novels on limitations and the potential destructiveness of the human spirit rather than on its possibilities (The American Experience 301). Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Melville’s Moby Dick, are tales of sin, guilt, obsession and destruction. From out of both of these anti-transcendentalist novels, various similarities arise between the characters. Mainly, Chillingworth from The Scarlet Letter and Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, stand out as the most related, prominent characters of the novels. Both Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are portrayed the same way in their respective novels and perform similar actions, which lead to their ultimate destruction.

In the areas of the meanings of their names, their corresponding authors’ descriptions, and their character type, Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are alike. The names of these two characters are appropriate to their characters. Roger Chillingworth’s name seems to be from the word chill, a synonym for fear and coldness of the heart. Chillingworth makes it a point to instill fear within Reverend Dimmsdale. He is notorious by Hester for having a cold heart. “What does Chillingworth want from Dimmsdale? Revenge…exposure and public humiliation” (Neilson 274).

Indeed, Captain Ahab’s name seems to come from biblical times. King Ahab of Israel was an evil man, who spent his time at war with neighboring countries. In Moby Dick, he is at war with the whale as well as other shipmates. He declares, “What do we do when we see a whale?…Lower Away, and after him!” (Melville 321). These two men, strategically modeled after their names, take on the role of the villain in their own worlds. The severity of both their characters is shown throughout each of the two novels. In The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth, force Hester to reveal the man that she sinned with. He uses his authoritarian nature to instill fear within her. “Thou wilt not reveal his name? Not the less he is mine…” (Hawthorne 73).

He promises to avenge the man who wronged him by sleeping with his wife. Throughout the rest of the novel, Chillingworth aims to destroy Arthur Dimmsdale, the man who slept with his wife. Similarly, in Moby Dick, Melville uses Captain Ahab as the evil character. When Ahab encounters another ship that says that they have seen Moby Dick, they immediately take off. He is also asked to help find the other Captain’s son who is lost at sea, but is determined to catch Moby Dick, so he turns the other captain down (Great Books, MD). This shows Captain Ahab’s cruelty to other human beings as well as his evil nature. Additionally, the descriptions of these two men are similar. In Moby Dick, Melville describes Captain Ahab as an evil harmful, destructive looking man. He has an made completely from ivory, and a cruel severe, domineering face (Great Books, MD).

Similarly, in The Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth is portrayed given bitter face, which instills fear in all around him. “A withering horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and…all its wreathes intervolutions in open sight” (Hawthorne 58). Altogether, Chillingworth and Captain Ahab are created as similar characters. The villainous characterization of these characters are parallel to their names, and their features reflect that personality.

These two characters interact with other characters similarly, become obsessed with revenge and are eventually destroyed. In Moby Dick, Melville describes how other characters doubt him and his ways. Starbuck, a shipmate, states, “Vengeance on a dumb brute!…To be enraged at a dumb thing…seems blasphemous” (Hawthorne 324). Others including Ishmael were afraid, they could not comprehend that an obsession could be so powerful, it could take over a person’s life. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, Chillingworth’s wife speaks to him about how he used to be a sensitive man, and now, he has turned into a fiend. She is afraid for her lover Dimmsdale, as well as her and Pearl’s lives, because this man could do something irrational (Great Books, SL).

Coincidentally, both the two characters become obsessed with revenge. In the Scarlet Letter, Chillingworth sets his life goal to find and the man who committed adultery. Once he finds him, Chillingworth tries to make Dimmsdale’s life a living hell. Hawthorne writes, He now dug into the poor clergyman’s heart like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave…” (Hawthorne 125). Likewise, Captain Ahab, become obsessed with killing Moby Dick. Ahab believes that the whale is evil and must be stopped. He declares, “That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and…I will wreak that hate upon him” (Melville 324).

Consequently, the two obsessions of the two men eventually lead to their ultimate destruction. Chillingworth devotes his entire life to finding out and torturing the man who wronged him. When Dimmsdale, the adulterer, confesses and dies, Chillingworth has no purpose for life after this event. “This unhappy man had made the very principle of his life to consist in the pursuit…of revenge… and when left with no further material, had no reason to stay on the earth to do the devil’s work” (Hawthorne 255). Similarly, Ahab get so involved in the pursuit of the whale, his safety is overlooked. He gets caught on a harpoon line and pulled under and above the water. This man’s reason for living was eventually the cause of his death (Great Books, MD).

Overall, the characters that interact with each of these two men have to same response towards each of their obsessions. These obsessions, the sole purpose for their living was in the end the source of final destruction.

Based on the way the characters were created, and their actions and interaction with other people, the characters Roger Chillingworth, and Captain Ahab are similar. The two men have names built surrounding their evil nature and their physical description. Moreover, the way other characters interact with them, is similar. Others do not understand why they are so obsessed.

This obsession for revenge, in both characters, lead to each of their final destruction. It is a great mystery how why the two novels are so closely related and have similar characters. Perhaps the two authors shared a special friendship in which they both emulated each other’s writing. How ever this may have happened, these two novels were quite possibly the greatst pieces of literature of their time.

The Relationship Between The Individual And Society – The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter defines the relationship between the individual and society through Hester’s alienation from Puritan Boston caused by the sin she committed, and subsequently the scarlet A she wore on her bosom. Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne is a common character among Romantic writers; a rebel who refuses to conform to society’s codes. However, in the novel, society is not made out as the sole evil force. While most readers would instinctively feel sympathy for Hester’s nonconformist attitude, society had reasons for condemning her. An argument can be made in favor of society insisting that adultery is a crime deserving of a punishment.

What Hester and Dimmesdale did was wrong, both of them admit to it, and it was up to society to enact full authority over the criminals. Hester’s not wanting to identify Dimmesdale as her accomplice is strictly done by her own will, without contribution from society. Hester’s condemnation and alienation from society was brought about by her own accord. Her choice to remain silent about matters concerning her hidden lover was strictly her own. Also, society in no way pressured her to commit adultery; she did so out of her own weakness.

However, there were instances when the Boston community simply alienated Hester out of hatred and fear of the scarlet letter that she was forced to wear. Actions taken to remove Pearl from Hester’s care are an ideal example of society overstepping the boundaries of regular punishment simply to expel any sense of happiness Hester has retained. The argument that Hester was not a fit mother because of her sin was used heavily against her. In cases such as these, society wishes to forcefully make Hester repent, thereby, making her an example to the rest of the community.

In contrast with the community and the shackles it presents with its rules and authority, Hester is the ideal radical. Her refusal to make Dimmesdale’s actions public displays a deep sense of love and honor with which readers can sympathize. While Dimmesdale’s condition worsens because of his hidden guilt, Hester is able to use her discord to her advantage, becoming a stronger and more capable woman. Her constant battle to maintain her own sanity while remaining alone provides her with a healthy outlet for her misinterpretation. Though she is individualized from society, she continually helps the poor and establishes herself as a seamstress.

However, upon doing so she still receives constant berating from those that she helps. Through society’s treatment of Hester years after her crime, one can find the relationship between the individual and society. Hester has become such an outcast that it has become impossible for her to regain any status in the community. Once she has been branded with the scarlet A, she, in effect, is branded for life. While the argument that such alienation would usually occur only in Puritan society is certainly valid, one need look no further then to our own President to find example of such treatment in a modern society.

Disgust with those who commit such acts is a prevalent attitude. The alienation of individuals has transcended time and is evident in any community. From a nation which questions the sexual activity of their President, to the hatred of individuals by other members of a community subjugated to Megan’s Law, society’s treatment of its individuals is universal in any community. Once a person is deemed to have acted outside the norms of the society in which he lives, it becomes increasingly harder to maintain status in a community.

The Scarlet Letter – Analysis

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s background influenced him to write the bold novel The Scarlet Letter. One important influence on the story is money. Hawthorne had never made much money as an author and the birth of his first daughter added to the financial burden (Biographical Note VII). He received a job at the Salem Custom House only to lose it three years later and be forced to write again to support his family (IX). Consequently, The Scarlet Letter was published a year later (IX). It was only intended to be a long short story, but the extra money a novel would bring in was needed (Introduction XVI).

Hawthorne then wrote an introduction section titled The Custom House to extend the length of the book and The Scarlet Letter became a full novel (XVI). In addition to financial worries, another influence on the story is Hawthorne’s rejection of his ancestors. His forefathers were strict Puritans, and John Hathorne, his great-great-grandfather, was a judge presiding during the S! alem witch trials (Biographical Note VII). Hawthorne did not condone their acts and actually spent a great deal of his life renouncing the Puritans in general (VII).

Similarly, The Scarlet Letter was a literal soapbox for Hawthorne to onvey to the world that the majority of Puritans were strict and unfeeling. For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives. Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death (Hawthorne 51). Perhaps the most important influence on the story is the author’s interest in the dark side (Introduction VIII).

Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne confronted eality, rather than evading it (VII). Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery, a subject that caused much scandal when it w! as first published (XV). The book revolves around sin and punishment, a far outcry from writers of the time, such as Emerson and Thoreau, who dwelt on optimistic themes (VII). This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter to the develop the theme of the heart as a prison.

The scaffold scenes are the most substantial situations in the story because they unify The Scarlet Letter in two influential ways. First of all, every scaffold scene reunites the main characters of the novel. In the first scene, everyone in the town is gathered in the market place because Hester is being questioned about the identity of the father of her child ( Hawthorne 52). In her arms is the product of her sin, Pearl, a three month old baby who is experiencing life outside the prison for the first time (53).

Dimmesdale is standing beside the scaffold because he is Hester’s pastor and it is his job to convince her to repent and reveal the father’s name (65). A short time later, Chillingworth unexpectedly shows up within the crowd of people who are watching Hester after he is released from his two year captivity by the Indians (61). In the second scene, Dimmesdale is standing on top of the scaffold alone in the middle of the night (152). He sees Hester and Pearl walk through the market place on their way back from Governor Winthrop’s bedside (157).

When Dimmesdale recognizes them and tells them to join him, they walk up the steps to stand by his side (158). Chillingworth appears later standing beside the scaffold, staring at Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl. In the final scaffold scene, Dimmesdale walks to the steps of the scaffold in front of the whole town after his Election day sermon (263). He tells Hester and Pearl to join him yet again on the scaffold (264). Chillingworth then runs through the crowd and tries to stop Dimmesdale from reaching the top of the scaffold, the one place where he can’t reach him (265).

Another way in which the scenes are united is how each illustrates the immediate, delayed, and prolonged effects that the sin of adultery has on the main characters. The first scene shows Hester being publicly punished on the scaffold (52). She is being forced to stand on it for three hours straight and listen to peop! le talk about her as a disgrace and a shame to the community (55). Dimmesdale’s instantaneous response to the sin is to lie. He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father’s best interest for her to reveal the father’s name (67).

Though he never actually says that he is not the other parent, he implies it by talking of the father in third person (67). Such as, If thou feelest it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will hereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer (67). Chillingworth’s first reaction is one of shock, but he quickly suppresses it (61). Since his first sight of his wife in two years is of her being punished for being unfaithful to him, he is naturally surprised.

It does not last for long though, because it is his nature to control his emotions (61). Pearl’s very existence in this scene is the largest immediate effect of her parents’ crime (52). She obviously would never had been there had her parents resisted their love for each other. The second scene occurs several years later and shows the effects after time has had a chance to play its part. It begins with Dimmesdale climbing the stairs of the scaffold in the middle of the night because it is the closest that he can come to confessing his sin (152).

This scene is especially important because it shows how pitiful he has become. Dimmesdale shows just how irrational he is when he screams aloud because he fears that the universe is staring at a scarlet token on his breast (153). It also shows how much guilt he is carrying by the way he perceives the light from a meteor as the letter A. He believes it stands for adulteress while other people think it stands for angel since the governor just passed away (161).

This scene also shows how Hester is managing her new situation. When Dimmesdale tells her to come up the scaffold and asks her where she has b! en, she replies that she has been measuring the robe that the governor is to be buried in (158). This statement implies that Hester’s reputation as a talented seamstress has spread. Ironically, her first well known piece of work was the scarlet letter that she wore on her chest. As a result, she owes her own success to her infamy. Besides growing older, Pearl’s most significant change is in her perceptibility (158). In this scene, she constantly asks Dimmesdale if he will be joining Hester and herself on the scaffold tomorrow at noon and accuses him of not being true (162).

Neither Hester nor Dimmesdale ever told Pearl who her father was, but she figures it out by the way he always holds his hand over his heart (159). Chillingworth’s derangement is evident in this scene also. His contempt for Dimmesdale is so acute that he risks his cover when he gives him a look so vivid as to remain painted on the darkness after the bright meteor that just passed, vanishes 161). The third scene is very critical because it is the last glimpse into every characters’ mind and the last time that everyone is alive. At this point in time, Dimmesdale’s fixation on his sin has utterly corroded him to the point of death.

After he gives his election day sermon, he goes to the scaffold and asks Hester and Pearl to join him because he is so weak that he can hardly support himself (265). He finally exposes the truth and tells his followers of how he deceived them (267). The only good that comes out of conceding his guilt is that he passed away without any secrets, for he was already too ar gone to be able to be saved (269). This scene is important to the characterization of Hester because it is the first time that she is not in complete control of her emotions (264). Her dream of escaping to England with Dimmesdale is lost when he decides to confess (264).

The unanticipated arrival of Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s feeble appearance distresses her, and for the first time, she can not control the outcome (264). The greatest transformation in Pearl’s life occurs in this scene. While she used to be perceived as elfish, she now shows the first signs of normal human emotion. After Dimmesdale onfesses his sin, she kisses his lips voluntarily (268). The great scene of griefhad developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it (268).

Ultimately, Chillingworth takes a severe turn for the worse when Dimmesdale reveals his sin. Since Chillingworth based the rest of his life on playing games on Dimmesdale’s mind, he was left without any goals, and his life became meaningless (268). On that account, it is clear that Hawthorne uses the scaffold scenes, not nly as a unifying device, but as a means to keep the reader interested in the novel by providing plenty of action. The main characters sharply contrast each other in the way they react to Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin.

To begin, Hester becomes stronger, more enduring, and even more sympathetic. She becomes stronger because of all the weight she has to carry. She is a single mother who suffers all of the burdens of parenthood by herself. They live on the edge of town, and Pearl has no one to give her food, shelter and emotional support besides Hester. Pearl is especially difficult to raise because she is anything but normal. Hawthorne gives a pretty accurate description of Pearl when he writes: The child could not be made amenable to rules.

In giving her existence, a great law had been broken; and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and bril- liant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered (91). Hester’s endurance is proven when the people of the colony completely change their opinion of her. While a lesser person would run from the hostile colonists, Hester withstands their insolence and ursues a normal life.

After years of proving her worth with her uncommon sewing skills and providing community service, the colonists come to think of the scarlet letter as the cross on a nun’s bosom, which is no small accomplishment (169). Hester also becomes more sensitive to the feelings and needs of other people. She feels that her own sin gives her sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts (87). So even though the people she tried to help often reviled the hand that was stretched forth to succor them, she continues her services because she actually cares (85).

While Hester ries to make the best out of her situation, Dimmesdale becomes weaker by letting guilt and grief eat away at his conscience. Dimmesdale punishes himself by believing that he can never be redeemed. He feels that he will never be seen the same in the eyes of God, and that no amount of penitence can ever return him to God’s good graces. He is so touchy on this subject that when Hester says his good deeds will count for something in God’s view, he exclaims, There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead and can do nothing for me! 202).

Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out f his life. His life’s work has been dedicated to God, and now his sin has tainted it (202). He feels that he is a fraud and is not fit to lead the people of the town to salvation. The feeling is so oppressive that the chance of escaping his work and leaving with Hester and Pearl makes him emotionally (and probably mentally) unstable. He walks through the town with twice as much energy as normal, and he barely stops himself from swearing to a fellow deacon (229).

When an old lady approaches him he can not remember any scriptures whatsoever to tell her, and the urge to use his power of ersuasion over a young maiden is so strong that he covers his face with his cloak and runs off (230). The largest cause of Dimmesdale’s breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. As God’s servant, it is his nature to tell the truth, so the years of pretending are especially hard on him. His secret guilt is such a burden that instead of going with Hester to England and perhaps having a chance to live longer, he chose to stand, confess and perish on the scaffold (268).

Ultimately, Chillingworth responds to his wife’s betrayal by sacrificing everything in order to seek revenge. After he iscovers that his wife bore another man’s child, Chillingworth gives up his independence. He used to be a scholar who dedicated his best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge, but his new allegiance becomes finding and slowly punishing the man who seduced his wife (74). He soon becomes obsessed with his new mission in life, and when he targeted Reverend Dimmesdale as the possible parent, he dedic! ates all of his time to becoming his confidant in order to get his retribution (127).

Vengeance was also one of the reasons that Chillingworth gives up his identity. The only way he can truly corrupt Dimmesdale is to live with him and be by his side all day, every day. The only possible way to do that is to give up his true identity as Roger Prynne, Hester’s husband, and become Roger Chillingworth. Since the only person who knew his true identity is sworn to silence, he succeeds for a long time in tricking Dimmesdale until Hester sees that he was going mad and finally revealed Chillingworth’s true identity (204). His largest sacrifice is by far, his own life.

After spending so much time dwelling on his revenge, Chillingworth forgets that he still has a chance to lead a life of his own. So accordingly, after Dimmesdale reveals his secret to the world, Chillingworth dies less than a year later because he has nothing left to live for (272). In conclusion, Hawthorne’s use of characterization gives the book a classic feeling by showing Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth’s feelings indirectly through acts. The novel revolves around two major symbols: light and darkness and the scarlet letter.

The book is filled with light and darkness symbols because it represents the most common battle of all time, good versus evil. When Hester and her daughter are walking in the forest, Pearl exclaims: Mother, the sunshine does not ove you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Now see! There it is, playing, a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet (192). Hester tries to stretch her hand into the circle of light, but the sunshine vanishes (192).

She then suggests that they go into the forest and rest (193). This short scene actually represents Hester’s daily struggle in life. The light represents what Hester wants to be, which is pure. The movement of the light represents Hester’s constant enial of acceptance. Hester’s lack of surprise and quick suggestion to go into the forest, where it is dark, shows that she never expected to be admitted and is resigned to her station in life. Another way light and darkness is used in symbolism is by the way Hester and Dimmesdale’s plan to escape is doomed.

Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the shadows of the forest with a gloomy sky and a threatening storm overhead when they discuss their plans for the future (200). The gloomy weather and shadows exemplify the fact that they can’t get away from the repressive force of their sins. It is ater proven when Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold! instead of leaving with Hester and going to England (269). A final example occurs by the way Hester and Dimmesdale can not acknowledge their love in front of others. When they meet in the woods, they feel that, No golden light had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest (206).

This emotion foretells that they will never last together openly because their sin has separated them too much from normal life. The scarlet letter also takes many different forms in the novel. The first and clearest form that the letter A takes is Adulteress. It is apparent that Hester is guilty of cheating on her husband when she surfaces from the prison with a three-month-old-child in her arms, and her husband has been away for two years (53). Hence, the people look at the letter elaborately embroidered with gold thread and see a hussy who is proud of her sin (54).

The second form that it takes is Angel. When Governor Winthrop passes away, a giant A appears in the sky. ! People from the church feel that, For as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this past night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof! (16). The final form hat the scarlet letter take is Able. Hester helped the people of the town so unselfishly that Hawthorne wrote: Such helpfulness was found in her,–so much power to do, and power to sympathize,–that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by it s original significance.

They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength (167). In closing, one of the most important reasons that The Scarlet Letter is so well known is the way Hawthorne leaves the novel open to be interpreted several different ways by his abundant use of symbolism. This background, together with a believable plot, onvincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter to the develop the theme of the heart as a prison.

Hawthorne describes the purpose of the novel when he says, Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worse, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred! (272). The theme is beneficial because it can be put into terms in today’s world. The Scarlet Letter is one of the few books that will be timeless, because it deals with alienation, sin, punishment, and guilt, emotions that will continue to be felt by every generation to come.

Scarlet Letter – Pearl

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, many of the characters suffer from the tolls of sin, but none as horribly as Hester’s daughter Pearl. She alone suffers from sin that is not her own, but rather that of her mother. From the day she is conceived, Pearl is portrayed as an offspring of evil. She is brought introduced to the pitiless domain of the Puritan religion from inside a jail, a place where no light can touch the depths of her mother’s sin.

The austere Puritan ways punish Hester through banishment from the community and the church, simultaneously punishing Pearl in the process. This isolation leads to an unspoken detachment and hatred between her and the other Puritan children. Thus we see how Pearl is conceived through sin, and how she suffers when her mother and the community situate this deed upon her like the scarlet letter on her mother’s bosom. Pearl is thought of being an evil child with demon like qualities, yet she is spirited and very loving towards her mother.

Hester Prynn constantly questions Pearl’s existence and purpose asking God, “what is this being which I have brought into the world, evil? ” or inquiring to Pearl, “Child, what art thou? ” Hester sees Pearl as a reminder of her sin, especially since as an infant Pearl is acutely aware of the scarlet letter A on her mother’s chest. When still in her crib, Pearl reached up and grasped the letter, causing “Hester Prynne [to] clutch the fatal token so infinite was the torture inflicted by the intelligent touch of Pearl’s baby-hand” (Hawthorne 66).

The torture Hester felt was reflected by the significant reminder of the sin that brought Pearl into life. Hester feels guilty whenever she sees Pearl, a feeling she reflects onto her innocent child. In this manner, Hester forces the child to become detached from society. Pearl becomes no more than a manifestation based entirely upon Hester’s and Dimmesdale’s original sin. She is described as “the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life! “(70). Or in other words a living child demonstrating her parents sin.

Hester’s views toward Pearl changes from merely questioning Pearl’s existence to perceiving Pearl as a demon sent to make her suffer. Hawthorne remarks that at times Hester is, “feeling that her penance might best be wrought out by this unutterable pain”(67). Hester even tries to deny that this “imp” is her child, “Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl of mine! “(73; 67) It is small wonder that Pearl, who has been raised around sin, becomes little more than a reflection of her environment.

Hester believes that Pearl is an instrument of the devil, when in reality she is merely a curious child who cherishes her free nature and wants to be loved by her mother. Pearl is a very spirited child whose love for her mother is deep even though she does not always show it. Hester feels guilty because she truly believes in her heart that it is her sin causing Pearl to become aware of harsh realities of the world. Pearl responds to this harshness by defending her mother, sticking up for Hester against the Puritan children when they start to hurl mud at her.

Pearl’s lack of friends forces her to imagine the forest as her plaything. However, she is clearly upset about her exclusion from the people of the town, whom she views as enemies. “The pine trees needed little to [become] Puritan elders [and] the ugliest of weeds their children” (65). Pearl acts to use her environment as a basis for her personality: She never created a friend, but seemed always to be sowing, broadcast the dragon’s teeth, whence sprung a harvest of armed enemies, against whom she rushed to battle.

It was inexpressibly sad- then what depth of sorrow to a mother, who felt her own heart the cause! (65) “sprung a harvest of armed enemies” is a metaphor that Hawthorne uses in a way to display Pearls imagination. Hester knows that her sin is the reason that Pearl has to imagine friends because of the isolation from the Puritan people and their children. By the end of the story, when Hester is finally able to release her sin, Pearl is no longer a creation of a secret passion, but the daughter of a minister and a attractive young woman.

She is only from that moment onward able to live her life without the weight of her mother’s sin. In fact, Hawthorne points out that she is viewed as normal because of the burden lifted from her soul: “they [Pearl’s tears] were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow. ” Pearl is an offspring of sin whose life revolves around the affair between her mother and Reverend Dimmesdale. Pearl stands out as a radiant child implicated in the sin between her parents. It is only once the sin is publicly revealed that she is liberated by the truth.

The Scarlet Letter, Character Development

Authors use character development to show how a person can change. Through a descriptive portrayal of a charter and their development they become real to the reader. A well-developed character stirs up emotions in the reader making for a powerful story. A person can change for better or worse and Nathaniel Hawthorne shows this thru the character development of Hester, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter. We can see how Hester begins changing even from the beginning of The Scarlet Letter.

As the story starts Hester begins to develop a stronger and more rebellious attitude, which can be seen by the way she decorates the ‘A’ that represents the grave sin of adultery she has committed (p44). As the book progress we see Hester grow even stronger by the way she supports herself, her child born of sin, and helps the poor and sick out of the sincerity of her heart. Finally near the end of the novel we see the rebellious side of Hester evolve, symbolized by her casting the Scarlet letter to ground, as she takes control of her family, plans for escape, and a life as part of a family with the man she loves (p173).

That man who Hester loves so deeply, Mr. Dimmesdale also undergoes major changes due the sin he bears. In the beginning of the book we see this man’s weakness and unwillingness to confess sin even as he begs Hester the person he committed his sin with to come forth with her other parties name (p56). As The Scarlet Letter progresses we see Dimmesdale become weaker physically and his religious speeches become even stronger so that his congregation begins to revere him.

For a large part of the novel Dimmesdale has been on a downward spiral in terms of mental and physical health thanks to a so-called friend who was issued to take care of Mr. Dimmesdale, then because of a talk with Hester he is revitalized and given the power to do something, which he could not for seven long years. At the end of the novel Dimmesdale is finally able to recognize his family in public and confess his sin before all releasing the sin he held so long hidden in his heart (p218, 219).

Mr. Chillingworth as can be seen at the beginning of the novel is a good person but is also somewhat devious because he changes his name. Mr. Chillingworth’s good side is seen as he takes care of Pearl and Hester with only good intentions even though Hester has partly wronged him (p62). As the book progresses he becomes close to reverend Dimmesdale and is issued to take care of him due to his sickly state. Because of the time he spends with Dimmesdale he finds out Dimmesdale’s secret and how to play him psychologically. Chillingworth’s lust for revenge turn him to an evil person and eventually destroys him in the end.

Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all well developed in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne showing strengths and weaknesses of the characters draws you closer to Hester, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, and makes you love or hate them. Hawthorne makes Hester, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth become real to the reader through their development giving you a better sense of his characters. Making the characters of a novel real to the reader is important to them interested in what will happen next and Hawthorne did this in The Scarlet Letter.

A Holographic Interpretation of The Scarlet Letter

Comprehension of anything requires a framework already in place in order to place it in out sphere of reference. Especially those that are “fuzzy” or difficult to nail down. The brain and the atom are not fully understood, but by comparing functions, structures, and similar operations to known items or concepts one can obtain a hold on the unknown and even extrapolate unknown processes from known ones. (For example, the brain is similar to a computer. They both have memory, input/output, and similar structures-transistors to synapses.

This technique works with literature nd a deeper understanding a grasp of a book’s meaning becomes possible. The Scarlet Letter can be viewed through an understanding of the operation and production of holograms. First, an understanding of the holographic process is needed before any comparisons are possible. First and foremost a hologram requires a source of coherent wave- like energy. The second is a recording medium of extremely high resolution to record the microscopic interference patterns of light.

The third major requirement is utter stability and freedom from vibrations. As for producing an actual hologram, here is described a two-beam transmission olograph. (So named because viewing it requires shining the same coherent light back through it) The laser is placed on a platform in the sand and a mirror directs the light diagonally across the table. A beamsplitter divides the beam into two parts. One goes to a mirror that directs the light through a spreading lens onto the photographic plate at an angle.

The other beam is bounced off a mirror and through a spreading lens onto the object to be holographed. The table is allowed to settle and an exposure made. The light from the first beam, called the reference beam, nd the reflected light from the object combine to produce microscopic inte rference patterns through constructive and destructive interference. Since light is a wave, when two coherent beams intersect depending on their phase they either add or subtract strengths forming areas of lightness and darkness that are captured by the photographic plate.

After development the hologram is viewed with light from the same laser at the same angle as when it was exposed and Presto! You have read a rudimentary description of a hologram’s function but how could a book compare…..? By drawing parallels between components f the story and those of holography and seeing how they correlate. Major components of each system should relate; starting with the most impotant component of holography, a coherent wave-like energy source. Do humans see an object? Or do they mrely record the photons reflecting off it.

Of course they see the effects of light, not the object or light itself but its effects. Just as humans cannot see light, in the imaginary “holographic” Scarlet Letter “life” cannot be seen, only its effects. So life, however defined, is the energy source to sustain that imaginiary world. The second major component is the recording medium, which is the characters themselves. From the subtle nuances possible in each character comes the resolution to record all that effects a person. Some characters are already developed (in the photographic sense)-their character records no additional patterns.

Chillingworth is static; he has one goal and affects those around him, yet they don’t change him at all. Humans see in three dimensions due to their binocular vision. It’s a process similar to triangulation. If you observe an object from a certain position and determine the angle to it then move a measured istance and again find the angle the intersection of the lines is the position in space of the object. The brain does the same operation automatically to obtain the 3rd dimension. A hologram reproduces the way light appears to the eye at different distances, but the amount of depth is limited.

Among holograms of all permutations, possible depths of field vary from a few inches to several feet in complex setups. If the analogy holds then characters must exhibit differences in depth, and they do. Characters like Governor Bellingham and the stalwart ladies of the village ave little substance beyond what is readily visible. While this “life energy” bounces around the setting of The Scarlet Letter various important things change it in accordance with real light’s behavior. The rigidity of puritan life, the preponderance of law and order produces the coherence and stability necessary for holograms.

If an object moves during exposure in the resulting hologram there will be a black “hole” where it was. Just as if someone rattles Puritan society a hole conveniently opens beneath their feet. The “life-light” from the village and that from the forest are totally different. The hard coherent “light” from the village marches on the forest, but the border between them refracts (bends) the “light” and each tree attenuates (scatters) it until it is no different from the forest’s natural radiation.

The village then views as evil that which withstands their society and represents, to a point, chaos. Since waves combine in either constructive or destructive interference, so also should characters in the book. Obviously the relationship between Hester and Arthur is constructive. Perhaps love is a synonym to a more complex reaction. Just as obviously, Chillingworth roduces a negative effect on Dimmesdale, one that eventually destroys him. Many symbols in The Scarlet Letter are mirroric in nature.

They reflect the “light” from other objects and focus or spread it so different characters receive different effects. The scaffold is merely the place of chastisement to Hester, but it holds great attraction for Dimmesdale who has yet to expiate his sin upon it. Yet other objects act as coverings and some as absorbers. They shield the characters or absorb nuances in complex ways. Dimmesdale’s hand shields his heart from view, as if its nature would be revealed to all or fresh knives drive into it.

All things considered, certain literature can be compared to a hologram with the act of comparison making clear things not understood before. Even as viewing a hologram from different angles reveals new vistas so does examining the allegory peel away new layers of meaning. Even in individual settings, such as the scene in which Hester reunites with Arthur in the forest, they and Pearl seem to be in entirely different worlds with separate lighting. Other scenes exhibit this dual nature and a little examination brings it to light. An allegory can give you much insight-look into it.

The Scarlet Letter: The Harsh Puritan Society

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, life is centered around a rigid, Puritanistic-structured society in which one is unable to divulge his or her innermost thoughts and secrets. Every human being needs the opportunity to express how they truly feel, or the emotion is bottled up until it becomes volatile. Unfortunately, Puritan society did not permit this expression, so characters had to seek alternate means in order to relieve themselves. Luckily, at least for the four main characters, Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the form of the mysterious forest.

Hawthorne uses the forest to provide a helter for members of society in need of a refuge from daily life. In the deep, dark portions of the forest, many of the pivotal characters bring forth hidden thoughts and emotions. The forest track leads away from the settlement out into the wilderness where all signs of civilization vanish. This is precisely the escape route, from strict mandates of law and religion, to a refuge where men, as well as women, can open up, and be themselves.

It is here that Dimmesdale can openly acknowledge Hester and his undying love for her. It is here that Hester can do the same for Dimmesdale. It is here that the two of hem can openly engage in conversation, without being preoccupied with the constraints that Puritan society places on them. The forest itself, is free. Nobody watches in the woods to report misbehavior, so it is here where people do as they wish. To independent spirits like Hester Prynne’s, the wilderness beckons her: “Throw off the shackles of law and religion. What good have they done you anyway?

Look at you, a young and vibrant woman, grown old before you time. And no wonder, hemmed in, as you are, on every side by prohibitions. Why, you can hardly walk without tripping over one commandment or another. Come to me, and be masterless. ” Truly, Hester takes advantage of this, when Arthur Dimmesdale appears. She openly talks with Dimmesdale about subjects which would never be mentioned in any place other than the forest. “What we did” she reminds him, “had a consecration of its own. We felt it so! We said to each other! “(p. 86)

This statement shocks Dimmesdale, and he tells Hester to hush, but he eventually realizes that he is in an environment where he can open up. The thought of Hester and Dimmesdale having an intimate conversation in the confines of the society which they live is incomprehensible. Yet here, in the forest, they can throw away all reluctance, and finally be themselves, under the umbrella of security which exists. In the Puritan society, self reliance is stressed among many other things. However self reliance is more than stressed, it is assumed.

It is assumed that you need only yourself, and therefore should hold no emotional necessity for a “shoulder to cry on”. Once again, for people in the stations of life which Hester and Dimmesdale hold, it would be unthinkable for them to comfort each other. Yet in the forest, these cares are tossed away. “Be thou strong for me,” Dimmesdale pleads. Advise me what to do. “(p. 187) This is a cry for help from Dimmesdale, with him finally admitting he can’t go through this ordeal by himself. With this comes an interesting sort of role-reversal.

When Dimmesdale asks for help, he is no longer sustaining the belief that he is above Hester. He is finally admitting she is an equal, or even that she is above him. This is possibly one of the reasons that Puritans won’t accept these emotional displays, because the society is so socially oriented. Hester, assuming a new power position, give a heartfelt, moving speech. The eloquence of her words can not be veremphasized, and a more powerful statement had yet to be made in the book. Hester’s speech turns out bear a remarkable resemblance to one of Dimmesdale’s sermons. Begin all anew! Preach! Write! Act! “(p. 188)

The questions she asks also are like the articulate questions which Dimmesdale would pose during his sermons. The answer is obvious, yet upon closer examination they seem to give unexpected results. “Whither leads yonder forest-track? Backward to the settlement, thou sayest! Yea; but onward, too! Deeper it goes, and deeper into the wilderness until, some few miles hence, the yellow leave will show no estige of the white man’s tread. ” (p. 187) If we look at the title of this chapter, the meaning becomes much clearer.

The Pastor and His Parishioner” reveals that the roles are now reversed. Where else could an incongruity such as this occur, but in an accepting environment? What other platform is there for a man of high regard in the community to pour his soul to a woman who is shunned by the public for a grave sin? Nowhere else but in the forest, could such an event occur. Finally, the forest brings out the natural appearance, and natural personality of the people who use it correctly. When Hester takes off her cap and unlooses her hair, we see a new person.

We see the real Hester, who has been hidden this whole time under a shield of shame. Her eyes grow radiant, and a flush comes to her cheek. We recognize her as the Hester from chapter 1. The beautiful, attractive, person, who is not afraid to show her hair, and who is not afraid to display her beauty. The sunlight, which previously shunned Hester, now seeks her out, and the forest seems to glow. Dimmesdale has also come back to life, if only for a short time, and he is now hopeful and energetic. We have not seen his from Dimmesdale for a long time, and most likely will not see it ever again.

Puritan society can be harsh and crippling to one’s inner self. Hawthorne created the forest to give the characters a place to escape and express their true thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. It was here that thoughts and ideas flowed as endlessly as the babbling brook, and emotion was as wild as the forest it self. There are no restraints in the natural world, because it is just that, natural. No intrusion from people means no disturbance in the natural order, and therefore serves to bring its inhabitants away from their world, and into this older one.

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel about three individuals whose lives are forever changed. The story takes place in a Puritan village in Boston, in the 1600’s. A woman named Hester Prynne has committed adultery and is subject to wear a letter “A” on her dress, representing adulteress. Her secret lover, Dimmesdale, does not come forth, and she does not reveal his identity. Hester’s husband, Chillingworth, becomes a sick man, living off other people’s sufferings. The act of adultery has weakened each character, and isolated them from the community.

The three characters find it harder and harder to live each day. Hester Prynne is a strong character, but she also gives in to weakness. She moves to the outskirts of town because she does not want her life to be observed by every town’s person. Although she carries herself proudly, inside she feels sorrow for herself and her child, Pearl. Hester wears the scarlet letter even though she can take it off and refuse to wear it. Hester feels every isolated from the world, because she is an outcast in the village. Villagers look at her as a bad example and a bad person.

As time goes on, Hester feels like she has to give back to the world. She feels like she has done damage to the community, and therefore Hester helps the sick and makes clothing for the less fortunate. Hester tries to deal with her situation the best she possibly can. Dimmesdale is the weakest character in the novel. Dimmesdale keeps his guilt and sin inside of his self, and by doing so it tears him apart. He does not want the village to know of his sin, because as a minister, he feels he must be looked up to. Dimmesdale keeps to himself and little by little his health fades.

He fasts and fasts until he faints and he whips himself on the back as punishment. He has so much guilt built up inside of him after years and years that he decides he must confess to the village upon the scaffold. “For thee and Pearl, be it as God shall order, and God is merciful! Let me now do the will which he hath made plain before my sight. For, Hester I am a dying man. So let me make haste to take my shame upon me! ” Dimmesdale is saying that he deserves the punishment that God will give him, and he is ashamed of his sin. Soon after Dimmesdale confesses he dies. Robert Chillingworth is a vengeful person.

After Hester appears on the scaffold for the first time, he demands that she reveal her secret lover. Chillingworth famous lines “He will be known! ” tell us that Chillingworth is determined to find Hester’s lover, and he will not rest until he does. Chillingworth’s life becomes committed to finding and planning revenge on Hester’s adulterer. When he finds out that Dimmesdale was Hester’s secret lover, Chillingworth surreptitiously plans a vengeance that no one would ever think of. He begins to destroy Dimmesdale’s mind. Chillingworth is referred to as a “leech” in the novel because he lives off the weaknesses and sufferings of others.

When Dimmesdale publicly confesses to his sin, Chillingworth has nothing to live for. His life revolved around Dimmesdale, and now that he is dead, Chillingworth’s life is over. The “leech” is an unhappy, evil man, and he soon dies after Dimmesdale’s death. Hester, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale all became isolated from the outside world. Sin tore each of them apart, whether it was physically or mentally. The sin that Hester and Dimmesdale committed was the most dreadful aspect of their lives. Their sin made Chillingworth into an evil creature, knowing nothing but revenge. This act of adultery changed everyone’s lives completely.

The Scarlet Letter: Do You Dread Guilt

What is guilt? We all have guilt about something. Maybe forgetting something, lied about something, or even did something that shouldn’t of been done. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne we saw guilt fester in the minds and outward appearance of the main characters, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. When you hear the word guilt what do you think it means? Guilt means remorseful awareness of having done something wrong or of having failed to do something required or expected. Does that sound about right?

Guilt is something everyone has. Its this mental manifestation that lets us know when we did something wrong but no one knows it yet. Guilt is very powerful. Some people after awhile give in to this guilt and confess what they did. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale commit a great sin. Because of this great sin, it causes them immense guilt and sadness though out the rest of the book. One of the main character’s that is affected the most is Arthur Dimmesdale. Dimmesdale handles it in a different way though, to him its more of a “concealed sin.

A example of this is, “It may be that hey are kept silent by the very constitution of their nature. Or – can we not suppose it – guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God’s glory and man’s welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil or the past be redeemed by better service. ” Dimmesdale also has another reason for his concealing, he wants to remain silent so that he can continue to do God’s work as a minister. Hester Prynne handles her guilt in another way.

Instead of worrying bout it day after day and letting to fester, she makes it outward. At the beginning of the book she wears the most awesome clothes and shows the world she’s not guilty for what she has done. An example of this is, “And never had Hester Prynne appeared more lady-like, in the antique interpretation of the term, than as she issued from the prison. ” Also she shows it with the scarlet A on her chest. Instead of just putting some dumb A on her chest she spends the time and embroiders it with red and gold thread and even wears the scarlet A long after she could have removed it.

Roger Chillingworth appears at first to be the one that was sinned on but though out the book that changes with every page of the nasties that Chillingworth has caused. Even with the major sin of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger’s sins are much greater. First Roger knows that he never really did love Hester and says he did wrong by marrying such a young wife that also didn’t love him. But Roger doesn’t notice is second sin, taking revenge on Arthur Dimmesdale. An example of this is, “We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. There is one worse then even the polluted priest!

That ld man’s revenge has been blacker then my sin. He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart. Thou and I, Hester, never did so! ” Because Chillingworth’s sin was the blackest his fate was the most horrible of the three. To overcome this great guilt the character’s handle it in there own way. Hester Prynne handles it by trying to hide nothing, trying to show the world, see what I did and I’m proud of it! Arthur Dimmesdale handles his terrible guilt by concealing it to himself. To overcome it he would whip himself, take long walks into the forest, and even get in a secret interview with Hester.

His final output to the world was to tell them all on the scaffold of his great sin on election day. Roger Chillingworth handles his guilt by not showing he had any. Ignorance played a big part for Roger and in the end he also tells and notices what a great sin he has caused. What comes to the mind when guilt is said? Good, bad or are you just plain confused? Everyone has this problems about guilt, its not just yourself. Right? In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne guilt affected many people. Guilt is very powerful and festers in our minds and hearts of everyone when wrong doing occurs.

Reverend Dimmesdale Essay

“Life is hard, but accepting that fact makes it easier. ” this common phrase has been proven true in many people’s lives, but is also a harsh fact that Boston’s Rev. Dimmesdale, a key character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter, had to face. In this twisted story of deception and adultery set in the Puritan era, Hawthorne introduces Dimmesdale as a weak and cowardly man who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Yet, he transitions to a person who accepts his sins and the consequences, before it is too late, ultimately finding happiness.

At the beginning of the novel, Dimmesdale has established quite a reputation for himself. In discussing individual members of the magistrate, the towns people describe Dimmesdale as a “God fearing” gentleman, “but merciful overmuch (49)”. Due to his actions, all of the people respect and look up to the Reverend. Throughout the story, Dimmesdale desperately tries to confess, envying Hester, for her courage, he says, “Happy are you Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! 188)”

Even at the end of the novel, when finally attempting to onfess, people are compelled by his final sermon, raving that “never had a man spoken in so wise, so high, and so holy a spirit, as he that spake this day (p. 243)”. Proving that he was a very loved and influential man in the small town. In further developing Dimmesdale’s character, Hawthorne portrays him as a hypocrite. His outward demeanor deceives the villagers, appearing as a completely holy man.

However, before the action of the novel begins, he stumbles into sin, by committing adultery with Hester Pryne, an attractive young woman whose husband has been long absent on a journey, and presumed dead. His cowardly outlook on his sins only causes his troubles to snowball. Abandoning Hester and her illegitimate daughter Pearl, also augmented his problems. Forcing Hester to go and find work around town, an obviously hard task for a single parent. He also abandons them emotionally and physically, rarely there when Hester and Pearl needed him.

Innocent little Pearl wonders why Dimmesdale is so afraid of public displays of affection, yet when they are alone, he takes notice of her and Hester; talking to him, Pearl asks” ‘Wilt thou stand here with Mother and me, tomorrow noontide? ‘ (p. 149)”. A question whose answer is unclear for Pearl. In fact, the only way Hester and Pearl receive any kind of support from Dimmesdale is when Hester threatens to tell the truth about his sins. The fact that Dimmesdale is a hypocrite causes him to experience increased torment due to his guilt.

Hawthorne’s point is beautifully illustrated by Dimmesdale, because if he was not such a highly religious man, then he would not care about his crime. However, he does care, and he inflicts torment on himself, including long periods of fasting, in addition to hours of staring at himself in the mirror, he could lso be caught numerous times in his closet, whipping himself and burning the letter “A” on his chest, or at the scaffold in the wee hours of the morning, practicing how he is going to confess the next day.

Deluding himself by pretending that his private punishment is adequate. Similarly, there are also some things that go on that are out of Dimmesdale’s control. For example, bizarre thoughts and hallucinations take over him. His outward appearance also reflects this. To illustrate, “… his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before-when it had now become a onstant habit…. to press his hand over his heart.. (118)”. “He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself (141)”.

Proving, once again, that no good came out of his self-inflicted punishment. Even though he was privately repentant at home, his ministerial duties were carried out, attempting to keep his personal life out of the church. Dimmesdale refuses to confess, rationalizing that if he did, he would not be able to continue preaching and doing good deeds for the people; attempting to balance the scale. ‘These men deceive themselves’ “, as stated by Dimmesdales’s doctor, referring to people who believe that they can balance the scales by “doing good deeds (129)”.

However, at the conclusion of the novel, Dimmesdale takes an enormous load off of his back when he swallows his pride and finally confesses. After he sees himself transformed into a man that wants to teach children blasphemous words, and to sing and get drunk with visiting sailors, or to violate a new bride; he realizes that the only way to happiness was not through self-punishment, but through honesty. Bravely onfessing on the scaffold, yet doing so without allowing Hester to intervene, shows that he wants to repay her for her loyalty.

As if his honesty was a final cure for not only his, but also Pearl’s impish, condition; giving her what she had been yearning for all along, recognition, “Pearl kissed his lips. A spell was broken (251)”. And in attaining his peace and happiness, he dies. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s major theme in the book was that people are only human and nothing else, and a character other than Dimmesdale could not have painted such a vivid, and memorable picture in one’s mind.

Analysis Of Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is a novel that deals with the never-ending theme of sin. Throughout history, people have committed all types of sins, and whether they are major or minor, people have been punished. However, the severity of a punishment is very difficult to agree on. Some people feel that sinners should be deeply punished no matter how little the wrongdoing was. Others feel that a person’s punishment should be based upon the severity of their crime. However, what many people overlook is the fact that in time, we all have committed sins.

In The Scarlet Letter, the idea of sin and punishment is the main theme of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery. As Nathaniel Hawthorne states in this novel, “In the view of Infinite Purity, we are sinners all alike. ” This statement puts a big question mark on the true lives of the Puritans. If we all have once committed a moral wrongdoing, why is this young woman so harshly punished for her sin? Hester Prynne was a young woman living in a Puritan community in the “New World. ” Her husband, Roger Chillingworth was said to be lost at sea, and Hester assumed his death.

Upon this basis, young Hester committed a crime of adultery with her fellow Minister Arthur Dimmesdale. The result of this extra marital affair was the birth of young Pearl, an “elf-like” child. When the townspeople become aware of what Hester has done, they forced her to wear an ultimate sign of punishment, the scarlet letter. This letter “A” for adultery had to be worn on Hester’s bosom at all times. However, Roger Chillingworth returns from sea and now seeks revenge on Hester’s lover. When one analyzes the unishment inflicted upon her, it may seem harsh and cruel, especially for a Puritan society.

It seems that Hawthorne agrees with this as well. Throughout the novel, it seems apparent that Hawthorne feels that the punishment Hester received was harsh and self-degrading. When one commits a sin, they should understand their mistake, receive their blame, and receive a “slap on the wrist. ” However, the punishment Hester received was far worse emotionally. Wearing the letter made Hester the talk-about of the town. When she walked through the marketplace, she received cornful looks, as if society was rejecting her for her wrongdoing.

Hester was now living on the outskirts of town, isolated from neighbors and trying to communicate with her daughter Pearl. After many years of being swept out of society, Hester realized that her punishment was far worse than she deserved. Many times throughout the novel, Hawthorne sympathizes with Hester because of the emotional problems she encounters. Hawthorne sees her as the victim quite oftenly and blames it on her youth. She was forced to marry Roger Chillingworth at a young age, lthough she clearly had no feelings for him. Secondly, Hester’s crime was one out of passion, not malice.

It is clear throughout the novel that she has strong feelings for Dimmesdale and they outweigh her respect for the Puritan’s code of law. Although Hawthorne does not condone adultery, he often feels that Hester’s sin is somewhat out of necessity. She has nobody in her life. Her husband is lost at see and she lives with nobody. Dimmesdale was the first man Hester really loved, and he feels that because of these circumstances, her punishment far outweighed her crime. Throughout the novel, it is very clear that Hester does not abide by most Puritan traditions and she clearly is not very orthodox.

However, at times in the novel, it seems that she has overcome her guilt and her love for Pearl is unmatched, yet the scarlet letter always reminds her of her adulterous sin. A human is very fragile and many things can hurt or upset them. As Hawthorne expresses, it is clear to Puritans that they have little or no sympathy for unruly persons. Hawthorne feels that once she has over come her guilt and has accepted her punishment, then Hester should be able to tart over from scratch and unload this heavy burden from her back.

However, that doesn’t happen. This sin remains with Hester for seven years until her death, and the Puritan community never seems to forgive her for her sins. It is very clear that in this novel, Hawthorne is attempting to express his feelings on Puritan life and their rigid beliefs towards transgressors. However, people should be able to leave the past behind them and start over, yet that never seems to happen, and Hester is forced to drag this guilt around with her, until her last breath of air.

The novel The Scarlet Letter

The novel The Scarlet Letter was set in the Massachusetts Bay colony in the 17th century. Hester Prynne, her illegitimate daughter Pearl, her ex-husband Roger, and the town minister, Reverend Dimmesdale are the main characters. Hester Prynne had an affair while her husband was still living in England. Roger then moves to America, and he arrives and sees Hester standing on the scaffold with her child. Hester has been in jail before that, and is facing the town.

Roger becomes a doctor, and then moves in with the village minister who develops a heart condition. Roger figures out that Hester had committed adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale. After giving a wonderful speech and being praised by the whole village, Reverend Dimmesdale brings Hester and Pearl, and stands with them on the scaffold to admit to everyone that he has committed adultery. He then dies on the scaffold, after kissing Pearl and whispering a few words to Hester.

The Scarlet Letter – The Pearl

Pearl is one of the most interesting and mysterious characters of the novel The Scarlet Letter. One tends to wonder why Pearl is the way she is. Why does she act so strangely and so differently than all the other characters? She acts this way because of a relationship she has with the force of Nature, which Hawthorne personifies as sympathetic towards sins against the puritan way of life. Because of this trait Hester’s sin causes Nature to accept Pearl. Finally, Pearl’s acceptance of Nature is what causes her to act the way she does. First it is necessary to examine how nature is identified with sin against the Puritan way of life.

The first example of this is found in the first chapter regarding the rosebush at the prison door. This rosebush is located “on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold”(36) of the prison. The prison naturally is the place where people that have sinned against the puritan way of life remain. Then Hawthorne suggests that the roses of the rose-bush “might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him”(36).

This clearly states that Nature is kind to prisoners and criminals that pass through the prison doors. Hawthorne strengthens this point by suggesting two possible reasons for the rosebush’s genesis. The first is that “it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness… “(36), while the second reason is that “there is fair authority for believing [the rose-bush] had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson… “(36). By Hawthorne’s wording it appears as if he is emphasizing the second reason because he suggests there is “fair authority.

Connecting the osebush originating from Ann Hutchinson, an outcast from puritan society, shows the connection with Nature and sin against puritan way of life. This rosebush symbolizes the sympathy of Nature towards the very people Puritan society has condemned. The idea illustrated by the rosebush can therefore be applied to the specific character of Pearl. Because Pearl was expelled from Puritan society Nature sympathizes with her. Nature’s sympathy and partiality with Pearl can be seen with the sunshine in the forest. Pearl attempts to “catch” the sunshine and according to Hawthorn “Pearl . . . d actually catch the sunshine . . . The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate . . . “(146).

Hawthorn describes another sign of acceptance as the “great black forest . . . became the playmate of the lonely infant”(163). Hawthorne eventually declares that “The truth seems to be . . . that the mother-forest, and these wild things which it nourished, all recognized a kindred wildness in the human child”(163). All natural things an….. d Nature accept this little girl who has been thrust out of Puritan society. A way to strengthen this point is to show Nature’s reaction to Hester.

The strange thing is that the sunshine runs from Hester even though it was her sin against the Puritan laws that produced Pearl who is accepted by the sunshine or Nature. In fact “[the sunshine] runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on [Hester’s] bosom” (146), the Scarlet Letter, which represents Hester’s acceptance of Puritan law and way of life. Therefore her sin doesn’t invite the sympathy of Nature. This is why when she throws the letter on the ground “forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest . . . “(162).

Only then did Nature show its acceptance by flooding the forest with sunshine. The sympathy that Nature extends to Pearl is what makes her so different. Pearl has two personalities, one being that which belongs to Puritan life, the other being that of the wild “elf-child” of the forest. For her entire life she has been ostracized from Puritan society so she has no choice but to accept her “kindred wildness” that Nature accepts in her. This is the key to why Pearl is such an odd child and why she acts so differently because she knows not the ways of man and Puritan society.

She was born an “outcast of the infantile world. An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants”(71). She takes on the characteristics of Nature because Nature accepts her as one of its own. Nature, “that wild, heathen Nature of the forest, never subjugated by human law, nor illumined by higher truth”(162), is what Pearl is an image of. Pearl’s character “lacked reference, and adaptation to the world into which she was born. The child could not be made amenable to rules”(69).

These two quotes show a striking resemblance in description. In both cases Nature and Pearl are referred to as not adapting to Puritan society and not following its ways. This is the characteristic that makes Pearl so different because she is unaffected by the ways of man, and is a product of Nature and its ways. If Pearl is a product of Nature, then her wildness is understandable for the wildness Pearl obtained from Nature is the very thing that causes alarm to all. Pearl is so wild and lawless as a child because she is a product of the wild and lawless force of Nature.

Pearl has a very unique situation that throws her out of Puritan society and into the open arms of Nature. Through this situation Nature helps Pearl to look into herself and allow the “kindred wildness” in her to dominate her actions. She is compared to a “creature that had nothing in common with a bygone and buried generation, nor owned herself akin to it. ” Because of this little girl’s banishment from Puritan society she was thrown to another way of life and her wildness and peculiarity is a direct product of her banishment.

Evil And The Second Sense

In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn the society of a Puritan town of Salem excludes anyone who is in any way deviant and renders that person sinful. However, the society, the townspeople themselves, is not without fault. However they try to conceal and contain their passions and all their faults because of their fear of exclusion. All the characters in the book that are excluded from society are the most “natural” and true and possess a second-sense perception and almost magical intuition. Hester Prynne’s separation from the townspeople is both physical and mental.

She is expelled from the town as an adulteress, and she goes to live with her illegitimate daughter to a cottage “not in close vicinity to any other habitation. ” (68) They are despised by the whole town. Even children throw stones at them and chase them down the street. People do not dare to come close to Hester because of the mark as an outcast. To the townspeople, Hester’s character is something different and uncertain from the values that they are used to. “Wherever Hester stood, a small, vacant area – a sort of magic circle – had formed about her, into which a none ventured, or felt disposed to intrude. 206)

Hester is destined to forever wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest – “A” for “adulteress” – a sign of her sin, shame and separation from the righteous people. However, by being separated from the Puritanical town of Salem and all its prejudices, Hester is able to look at the people objectively and see much she was not able to see before. “Walking to and fro, with those lonely footsteps, in the little world with which she was outwardly connected, it now and then appeared to Hester that [the scarlet letter] gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. 3)

The people of the town are so busy covering up their faults and hiding their human passions, that they cannot see their own or each other’s faults. Hester, who wears her Cain’s mark of exclusion openly, does not have to worry about the opinion of others, and gains an intuition – an insight into the hearts of the people who throw her out. Hester’s mark of shame becomes a mark of being different, a mark of nonconformity. Many people interpret Hester’s “A” as “Able” (141), for Hester’s natural energy.

Even after the death of her former husband and Dimmesdale, the man with whom she committed adultery, Hester does not take off the scarlet letter and return to live to the town. In the beginning of her punishment and solitary life, Hester has enough courage to beautifully decorate her letter, mocking her sentence. She shows her skill, and it seems like she takes pride in her token of isolation. When Hester is led back to the prison from the platform on the pillory, “It was whispered that the scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passage-way of the interior. 58)

Hester’s mark becomes the guiding light throughout her whole life, even though, or, rather, because, the scarlet letter keeps the people and their prejudices away. Pearl, as the illegitimate daughter of Hester, is also an outcast. Raised by Hester who never tries to impose any discipline on her, Pearl “could not be made amenable to the rules. ” “In giving her existence, a great law has been broken; and the result was a being, whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder. ” (76) Pearl is the most natural and pure character in the book.

She goes “dancing and cavorting” on the streets, she chases sunlight, she is full of energy and is constantly in motion. Like Hester, she is given a very acute sense of the people around her. For example, she recognizes her father through her second sight. “[Pearl], that wild and flightly little elf, stole softly toward Mr. Dimmesdale, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both of her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender a that her mother a asked herself, “Is this my Pearl? “” (98) Pearl, not bound by anything except her own fancies, always does whatever she feels like in that instant.

She is completely in tune with the world around her. Another character who is not a part of the common people of Salem is Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s former husband. His main purpose in the book is to find out and slowly punish Hester’s lover with whom she had committed adultery. People sense at once that Roger Chillingworth is not one of them because of his great skill and knowledge and because many see “something ugly and evil in his face” (109). Some people even call him “a guise of Satan, or Satan’s emissary” (109) People are afraid of him; no one knows who he really is when he comes into the town all by himself.

No one knows much about his past, or about his purpose, which provokes rumors and stories behind his back. Roger Chillingworth, as an outsider, can also sense people very well. Almost immediately, he discerns Dimmesdale to be Hester’s former lover, even though only Dimmesdale and Hester know the secret. “Old Roger Chillingworth a had perceptions that were almost intuitive. ” (112) However, Dimmesdale, although a man of great knowledge and imagination, is so caught up in hiding his secret because he is afraid of being discovered and thrown down from his respectable position in society, is locked up in himself.

He strives to remain a part of the town, and therefore does not have the ability of perception like those who can look at the townspeople at a distance do. “Trusting no man as his friend, Dimmesdale could not recognize his enemy when the latter actually appeared. ” (112) Roger Chillingworth, so determined in his persecution “of the man who has wronged him” (63), moves in with Dimmesdale, meanwhile pressuring him psychologically all the time to confess his sin. Dimmesdale’s health becomes worse and worse, but he still cannot feel that it is his so-called physician that is ruining his life.

Dimmesdale conceals his passions, like his love for Hester and desire to redeem his sin by confession, in order to remain within the society, and is therefore untrue towards himself and other people. Another character in the story that possesses magical perception is Mistress Hibbins. She is a “venerable witch-lady” (130) and “a bitter-tempered sister” (99). “A few years later, [she] was executed as a witch” (99). During her life she is the woman viewed as “Satan’s snare” (100), the evil to be avoided by any respectable member of the society.

The crowd gave way before her, and seemed to fear the touch of her garment as if it carried a plague among its gorgeous folds” (212). However, Mistress Hibbins has the ability to see. She knows other people’s secrets and talks to them openly about them, but she does not spread them around as gossip, which the townspeople do a lot. She says to Hester about Hester’s secret meeting with Dimmesdale in the woods, “Couldst thou surely tell, Hester, whether he was the same man that encountered thee on the forest-path? a I know, Hester, for I behold the token” (213).

Even though she is supposedly “satanic,” Mistress Hibbins has no pretense or falseness in her. Pearl, who accepts only the most “natural” people and things, talks “eagerly” (213) to her, and calls her “good Mistress Hibbins” (213). Mistress Hibbins may be satanic, but she does not hide it or act in any way fake, like Dimmesdale for example. The passions of Mistress Hibbins are evil, and she does not try to conceal them. “Hester was surprised by the confidence by which [Mistress Hibbins] affirmed a personal connection between so many persons (herself among them) and the Evil One” (213).

The passions of Roger Chillingworth are evil, and so are the raw passions of Dimmesdale, after he meets with Hester in the woods. “As a [pure and saintly maiden] drew nigh, the arch-fiend whispered [Dimmesdale] to a drop into her tender bosom a germ of evil. ” (193) Even Hester worries about Pear, the “devilish imp” (71): “It had appalled [Hester], nevertheless, to discern here a shadowy reflection of evil that had existed in herself” (89). All these people have passions and wear their own scarlet letter of being deviant from other people.

All of them have some streak of evil in them. Hawthorn connects passion with evil. The people who are excluded from the society are those with passions and therefore with something evil and immoral in them. Rigid rules of the society that supposedly make people moral and righteous take away the most “natural” aspects and abilities from people, such as passion. Hawthorn criticizes Puritans, who by hiding their passions, become blind and untrue toward themselves and lose their natural instinct and intuition, which also makes them to be blind and untrue toward other people.

The Effects and Implications of Sin in The Scarlet Letter

Sin is the transgression of a moral code designated by either society or the transgressor. The Puritans of Boston in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, establish a rigid moral code by which to purge their society of deviants. As this society is inherently theocratic, the beliefs and restrictions established by religion are not only incorporated into law but constitute all law. In this manner, the moral code of the Puritan society thoroughly pervades the lives of its individuals, and any presence of iniquity is felt in all aspects of their lives.

In The Scarlet Letter, the characters lives are controlled by the sin they commit. Hester Prynnes adultery causes her alienation from the Puritan society in which she lives. After the term of her confinement ends, she moves into a remote, secluded cottage on the outskirts of town, inducing a physical separation from the townspeople. Because of this seclusion from society, the Puritans regard her with much curiosity and suspicion: Children… would creep nigh enough to behold her plying her needle at the cottage-window… d discerning the scarlet letter on her breast, would scamper off with a strange, contagious fear.

In addition to the physical separation, a more intangible manner of exclusion also exists, in that Hester becomes a pariah. She is subject to derision and malice from the lowliest of vagrants to the most genteel of individuals of the community, though many are often the recipients of her care and attention: The poor… whom she sought out to be the objects of her bounty, often reviled the hand that was stretched forth to succor them…

Dames of elevated rank, likewise, were accustomed to distill drops of bitterness into her heart. Hester cannot feel any sort of kinship with the townspeople in light of the treatment she receives from them, thus alienating her even further from Puritan society. Formerly an inhabitant within the bounds of the community as well as a member of the community, she is now outcast in both respects. Just as the act of adultery is pivotal in Hesters life, this sin effects a similar manipulation of Arthur Dimmesdales life.

Dimmesdales guilt over his sin continually torments him throughout the novel and causes his unusual behavior. He resorts to self-punishment because of this guilt: His inward trouble drove him to whipping himself and fasting rigorously until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance. Because of his resulting weak and sickly demeanor, this illustrates the extent of his guilt in that he subjects himself to so much painful, bodily harm. In addition, this guilt induces him to publicly reveal his transgressions. The extremity of this act is an evident contrast to Dimmesdales usual cowardice.

Time after time he castigates himself on the pulpit, but he veils his vilifications knowingly to inspire awe and reverence among his audience. The pronouncement of his transgressions at the closing scaffold scene is thus an aberrant action on Dimmesdales part and must have been prompted by the guilt he feels. His act of adultery–through guilt–thus manipulates his very actions. The effect of sin on Dimmesdales life is similar its effect on Chillingworth. Roger Chillingworths obsession with vengeance results in his eventual degeneration.

His physical appearance changes greatly over the years he spends in Boston because of his fixation with exacting revenge: A large number… affirmed that Roger Chillingworths aspect had undergone a remarkable change… At first his expression had been calm, meditative, scholar-like. Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face… His unattractive appearance is the physical manifestation of his animosity towards Dimmesdale. Furthermore, Chillingworths morals also undergo a deterioration, in that he devotes his life to tormenting Dimmesdale: in effect, sacrificing his fellow man for self-gratification.

The change from his initial integrity to his consequent depravity is apparent even to himself, as he asks Hester: Dost thou remember me? Was I not… a man thoughtful for others… kind, true, just, and of constant, if not warm affections?… And what am I now?… A fiend! Because of his perverse obsession with retaliation, Chillingworth abandons his morality, an integral part of his former self. The transgressions of the characters in the novel, The Scarlet Letter, manipulate the characters lives. Because of her act of adultery, Hester is exiled from Puritan society through her physical separation and status as an outcast.

The guilt resulting from this very same act impels Dimmesdale to act in an extreme manner: inflicting painful punishment on himself and publicly proclaiming and denouncing his actions. Chillingworths physical and moral deterioration are the consequences of his own sin–his obsession with vengeance. Thus, sin is a common affliction prevalent among the characters in this novel–and furthermore, among all mankind. It is the manner in which sin affects a person that provides insight into the persons soul.

The Scarlet Letter is a wonderful and not so traditional example of the good versus evil theme

Adultery, betrayal, promiscuity, subterfuge, and intrigue, all of which would make an excellent coming attraction on the Hollywood scene and probably a pretty good book. Add Puritan ideals and writing styles, making it long, drawn out, tedious, wearisome, sleep inducing, insipidly asinine, and the end result is The Scarlet Letter. Despite all these things it is considered a classic and was The Scarlet Letter is a wonderful and not so traditional example of the good versus evil theme. What makes this a unique instance of good versus evil is that ither side could be considered either one.

Hester could very easily have been deduced as evil, or the “bad guy,” as she was by the townspeople. That is, she was convicted of adultery, a horrible sin of the time, but maybe not even seen as criminal today. As for punishment, a sentence to wear a scarlet “A” upon her chest, it would hardly be considered a burden or extreme sentence in present day. Or Hester can be seen as rebelling against a society where she was forced into a loveless marriage and hence she would e the “good guy,” or girl, as the case may be.

Also the townspeople, the magistrates, and Chillingworth, Hester’s true husband, can be seen in both lights. Either they can be perceived as just upholding the law -she committed a crime, they enforce the law. On the other hand are they going to extreme measures such as wanting to take Pearl, Hester’s daughter, away just because Hester has deviated from the norm, all to enforce an unjust law that does not Although the subjects of the novel do apply to important issues in history and could have had influences on he time period, they were not great.

During the times and in the Puritan community this did not have a large affect on anything. Sure, they did not want anyone committing adultery, most were killed if convicted, but it was not something that upset their way of living in any permanent manner. To an individual or group who was battling something backward in the Puritan society, as were many things, this would have been an inspirational book and In short, this book could have been exceptional; it had all the elements of a superb book.

Unfortunately, Hawthorne found himself a rather large thesaurus and added a bunch of mindless prattle that mellowed out the high points of the book and expanded on the low points. In many chapters all he manages to accomplish is to update the lives of characters, mostly with irrelevant drivel. Also by expanding on the symbolism of the scarlet letter umpteenth times he wears it out so that the reader wants nothing more to do with a dumb “A” on some woman’s chest hundreds of years ago. Other than that, great book.

The novel, The Scarlet Letter

Love, affair, disowning! One may think that this is a soap opera, but one is fairly mistaken. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter written by, Nathaniel Hawthorne, love, lies, mistrust are a few of the many situations that confront his characters. In Boston Hester Prynne commits a sin of adultery landing her the punishment of wearing the scarlet letter A for the rest of her life. The man whom with she has an affair with is Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Roger Chillingworth is Hesters husband, and he will do anything in his power to make Dimmesdale repay for what he has done.

The physical and metal guiltiness that Dimmesdale undergoes for not confessing the truth of being Pearls father leads him to death. The theme of the novel is sin, isolation, and reunion. Through out the novel Nathaniel Hawthorne uses setting, plot, and the characters to develop these themes. Hawthorne uses the setting to develop the theme of sin, isolation and reunion. In the market place one of the guards opens the jail cell and announces to all the spectators and to Hester shouting, Open a passage; and I promise ye Mistress Prynne shall be set where man, woman, and child may have a fair sight of her Come along!

Madam Hester and show your scarlet letter in the marker place (Hawthorne 52). Hester is being displayed on the scaffold, which Hawthorne uses to show sin. While Hester is walking out of the jail a woman murmurs to one of the other women, This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die! (Hawthorne 49) This scene clearly shows isolation between Hester and the community. The setting of the scaffold scene also illustrates the reunion between Dimmesdale, Hester and Pearl. When Dimmesdale admits on being the father of Pearl to all the townspeople, this scene reunites Pearl with herself by making her normal.

The forest is as well as a major setting that instigates sin. Isolation in the forest occurs when Hester meets Dimmesdale to achieve some reunion, but instead drives them selves further into isolation. The use of the settings greatly structures how the theme of sin, isolation and reunion came about. The plot is utilized to support the three themes. There are five basic parts to the plot: conflict, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. On top of the scaffold Dimmesdale interrogates Hesters in revealing the identity of Pearls father.

Not getting anything out of her he utters, Wondrous, strength, and generosity of a womans heart! She will not speak! (Hawthorne 66) This demonstrates her isolation from everyone and also breeds the conflict between Dimmesdale, Hester, and Chillingworth. If she discloses that Dimmesdale is her lover then Chillingwoth will not have any thing to hold over Hesters head. The rising action occurs with the continuing isolation of Hester and Dimmesdale and the questioning of Dimmesdale by Chillingworth. He does this because he assumes that it is not physical but mental and moral. This all leads to the conflict.

The conflict happens on the scaffold when Dimmesdale breaks down and screams out for repentance and nearly gets caught by Mr. Wilson and Governor Bellingham. Then again in the forest Hester confronts Chillingworth telling him that she is going to reveal his secret to Dimmesdale. Later in the forest she confronts Dimmesdale telling him the secret that Chillingworth is actually her husband. When Chillingworth secret is confessed Dimmesdale and Hester weep into each others arm while Dimmesdale cries, He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart (Hawthorne 191).

As one can see when Dimmesdale and Chillingworth discover each others true identity it is the climax of the book. The falling action occurs when Hester and Dimmesdale make plans to leave the settlement, and during the night when he is writing his speech for the following day. The resolution occurs when Dimmesdale takes Pearl and her mother to the scaffold where he tells the crowd that he is the father of Pearl and Hesters lover. As one can see the plot is composed of themes of sin, isolation, and reunion. The characters largely influence the themes.

These themes are exhibited in the characters personality. Hesters sin is adultery, which plays the biggest role in the novel and also keeps the true identity of Chillingworth from Dimmesdale. Lies and sins are one of the many characteristics that Hester exhibits throughout the novel. When Hester and Dimmesdale congregate in the forest Hester verbalizes, I have striven to be trueBut a lie is not good, even though death threaten on the other side! (Hawthorne 190) This expresses that the lies that she with held is isolating her from her lover and her true self.

When Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl are in the forest Hester is in high spirits when they plan to leave to England, she takes off her scarlet letter as a form of freedom. Hester calls Pearl over to introduce her to Dimmesdale but Pearl refuses and Hester exclaims, Pearl misses something which she has always seen me wear! (Hawthorne 206) This conceals that Pearl additionally contributes to the sin and isolation by never letting Hester forget the existence of the scarlet letter.

Further on in the novel Hesters reunion came after she returns to Boston and took up wearing the scarlet letter. This occasion is was important because this time it had a special meaning to her and is not a punishment. The sin of Dimmesdale is adultery and his silence for not coming out and admitting he is Hesters lover. Dimmesdale then encounters isolation from his lover, himself and the community. Dimmesdales reunion came at the end of the novel when he plead guilty on the scaffold and told the entire community that he was Hesters lover.

This undoubtedly reveals that the characters are the melting pot in which the theme of sin, isolating, and reunion are shown. By using a combination of setting, plot and characters, Hawthorne made the theme of sin, isolation and reunion jump from the page and into ones mind. This made the reader think of how they would act and respond if they were the one being tormented by a close friend or encountering isolation from loved ones. Each character in this book goes through the cycle of sin, isolation and reunion; something that one will also encounter their lives.

The Scarlet Letter – Many Characters

The Scarlet Letter involves many characters that go through several changes during the course of the story. In particular, the young minister Dimmesdale, who commits adultery with Hester, greatly changes. He is the moral blossom of the book, the character that makes the most progress for the better. It is true that Dimmesdale, being a minister, should be the role model of the townspeople. He is the last person who should commit such an awful crime and lie about it, but in the end, he confesses to the town.

Besides, everybody, including ministers, sin, and the fact that he confesses llustrates his courage and morality. Hester and Dimmesdale’s affair goes undiscovered until Hester is pregnant and bears a child without having her husband present. As her punishment, Hester is forced to stand on the scaffold in the middle of the market place, with an A on her chest. Dimmesdale has not told a single person that he is the adulterer. He sits in the balcony with the Governor, a judge, a general, and the rest of the ministers, watching the display, without any expression or emotion.

Hester and Pearl go to the Governor’s home to deliver a air of gloves, but more importantly to inquire about the possibility of the government taking away her child. Also there with Governor Bellingham are Pastor Wilson, Reverend Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth. After Mr. Wilson asks Pearl a few questions, the Governor decides that Hester is unfit as a mother and that the child would be better off in the hands of the church. Hester begs Dimmesdale, whom she says knows everything about her and has charge of her soul, to speak for her. Therefore, he does, convincing the Governor to let Hester keep Pearl.

This is Dimmesdale’s first step to becoming the moral blossom. Late at night, a few years after the previous incident, Dimmesdale takes a walk through the town. He climbs onto the scaffold and pretends to confess; though there is no one out at this time at night. Hester and Pearl, on their way home, pass Dimmesdale on the scaffold. Dimmesdale calls out to them and they join him, standing hand in hand in the darkness. Dimmesdale has begun the road to confession by acknowledging Hester and Pearl and by acting out confession. Now he feels guiltier than ever.

He tortures himself, partly because of Chillingworth’s actions, by whipping himself and self-inflicting the letter A on his chest. As a result, Dimmesdale preaches the best sermons of his life and becomes more involved with the church and its people. His morality has strengthened even more because he has a large amount of guilt that can be heard in his voice as pathos and the people connect with it, and he wants salvation. Near the end of the book, Dimmesdale and Hester finally meet in the woods to talk. They decide to flee the town by a ship that is leaving in a few days.

After making this choice, Dimmesdale is haunted by bad feelings and strange urges that make him realize that it is Satan urging him to deny his sin by running away. Therefore, Dimmesdale changes his mind and chooses to stay. After his change of heart, Dimmesdale re-writes the Election Day sermon that he is to preach. He successfully gives the sermon and afterwards climbs up onto the scaffold. He then asks Hester and Pearl to join him. Pearl is excited because she has waiting for this moment for a long time. Hester is hesitant, but does join him.

Standing hand in hand once gain, Dimmesdale confesses to the town that he is the adulterer, he shows the A on his chest, and he forgives Chillingworth for torturing him. Dimmesdale is a lot like many people today. We are afraid to admit to wrong doings and we allow the guilt to torment us until we cannot bear it any longer. Dimmesdale is the perfect example of how evil we can become when we let our guilt overcome us, but he is the moral blossom of the novel because he realizes what he is doing, he is ashamed of it, and he confesses and forgives to rid himself of his tormenters.

Light and Darkness in The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, felt that the Puritans were people who believed that the world was a place where the battle between good and evil was a never-ending one. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne uses the symbols of light and dark to depict this battle among the characters Hester Prynne, Pearl, and Roger Chillingworth. After Hester commits her sin, her beauty almost immediately vanishes into darkness. Her hair no longer hangs freely about her face, instead she ties it up in a bonnet. Hester is not perceived as an evil person, but her sin makes her “light” hide away.

The sun is used as a descriptor of the goodness or pure nature of character. Because of her sin and the scarlet letter, Hester is no longer pure, therefore she is not seen in the sun. Hawthorne states, “It was only the darkened house that could contain her. When sunshine came again, she was not there. ” While on a walk to the forest, Pearl, Hester’s daughter states, “… the sunshine does not love you. it runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. ” This is evidence that the scarlet letter itself may be the cause of Hester’s darkness.

Pearl is the character most recognized for her presence in the sun. She is drawn to the sun, as the sun is drawn to her. While at the governor’s house, Pearl notices how brightly the sun shines through the windows. She requests that, “the sunshine be stripped off its front and given to her to play with. ” Hester responds by saying, “No my little Pearl. Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee! ” Pearl has been seen as a character that always persists on knowing the truth. While in the forest Pearl wants to hear a story from Hester.

She asks Hester if she has ever seen the Black Man. Hester replies that she has seen the Black Man once before. This suggests that the Black Man may be her husband, Roger Chillingworth. Roger Chillingworth is a character who is almost Satan-like. Chillingworth is described as the Black Man by Pearl and his own description of himself suggests that he is a fiend of some kind. When Chillingworth discovers that Dimmesdale was the father of Pearl, he taunts him and makes him feel more guilt than he already possesses. Hester feels guilty because she has suppressed from Dimmesdale who Chillingworth really is.

Chillingworth says, “Ye that have wronged me not sinful, save in a kind of typical illusion, neither am I fiend like who have snatched a fiend’s office from his hands. It is our fate. Let the black flower blossom as it may! ” The black flower, as Chillingworth describes it, is the truth of all the events leading up to who the father is, and who Chillingworth is. The truth is a dark truth, therefore it is related with the darkness. Hester, Pearl, and Chillingworth are all characters associated with good and/or evil. Hester’s character is at first beautiful and after she bonds with the scarlet letter she is seen with the darkness, and shadows.

Her transformation occurs when she takes the bonnet off, and detaches the letter. Almost immediately her light comes back and she is beautiful again. This is her physical exposure to Pearl, as well as the exposure of her adulterous sin. Pearl does not have anything to expose, but she does witness Hester’s transformation in the light. Pearl, for the first time, expresses human emotion, which happens in her mother’s light. Roger Chillingworth is the dark force in this particular story. He suffices the truth through Dimmesdale and Hester’s guilty feelings. Hence, Chillingworth is the tool for exposing the dark truths.

Scarlet letter – guilty heart

A great deal of blood has been shed and many wars have been fought during the history of civilization; however, man’s greatest battle and most formidable enemy is only himself. Humans like to think of themselves as faultless, but sin is inevitable. Mankind is a sinful race; therefore, everyone has sinned. This has been made only more evident with the passing of time and the development of the human character. Not every person has the ability to address the concept of sin and also display it in a way that causes others to look at their lives through critical eyes.

However, one factor that has remained constant in the human character through this development is conscience. As conscience continues to consume all that is his very essence, the struggling Arthur Dimmesdale, illustrates Hawthorne’s theme of the negative affects of a sin-stained conscience and a life of secrecy in The Scarlet Letter. In this story, an anguished Arthur Dimmesdale struggles to pacify his conscience and withhold the secret of his sin from being known. He did not reveal to anyone the revenge he felt in his heart, and he tried to keep anyone from realizing that his revenge was slowly taking over his life.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was successful in writing a novel that accentuated sin and guilt interchangeably, while revealing to the readers the consequences of living with sin as a guideline. The letter A proved to be the primary focus because it had direct influence on every person in the novel. His characters lived interchangeable but distinct lives with different joys, loves, sins, and morals. Arthur begins to feel that if he confesses to the crime he has committed he will end the personal stress on his soul.

Feeling full well the torment of his own secret, Arthur proclaims that those who hold such “miserable secrets will yield them up that last day with a joy unutterable” (Hawthorne 91). By this expression, Arthur offers a glimpse into his tortured heart and shows how heavy a burden his secret is. This is where the novel begins to delve into the heart and conscience of Arthur Dimmesdale when Roger Chillingworth questions him about his thoughts on sinners and their secrets. When Chillingworth further inquires about such sinful secrets, Arthur holds his hand to his breast, a motion that he performs frequently (Hawthorne 91).

The reader is presented with the thought that this gesture possibly is not done as much out of physical suffering as spiritual suffering. It almost shows a red stigma or burden on the life of Dimmesdale. Not only is the health of Arthur’s body in question, but also the condition of his heart, his soul, is dubious. The engraving on Arthur’s chest suggests that the burden of his sin had seeped so deeply within him, it has now forced its way outside. Although Hawthorne lets this aspect of the novel remain ambiguous, we as the reader now know that Arthur’s sin has begun consuming him.

His conscience was now stained with sin, and its weight will soon become too much to bear. When Chillingworth uncovers the secret Arthur had tried to keep intact, the scarlet letter A upon his chest is clearly visible (Hawthorne 95). With this new knowledge obtained by Chillingworth, he can now initiate another affect of a life of secrecy which will eventually lead to misery, pain, and tormenting. Chillingworth can now examine the life of Arthur Dimmesdale and make his it a nightmare for him. Later in the book when Dimmesdale and Hester were in the woods, Dimmesdale said to Hester, “Thy heart must be no longer under his evil eye… were far worse than death” (Hawthorne 135).

This shows how bad Chillingworth eventually torments Dimmesdale. Arthur begins his progressive moral revolution and self-hatred. He despises the hypocrisy of such a vile scoundrel, as himself preaching from behind the pulpit, yet can never bring himself to admit his corruption before his congregation. From this undesirable spiritual weight he seeks freedom. He had striven to find forgiveness in admitting his guilt at the pulpit, but he ended up only feeling more shamed when the masses viewed his confessions as only more proof of his saintliness.

His inner turmoil led him to find other methods of penance: the scourge, fasting, and vigils. Arthur would whip his shoulders senselessly, fast rigorously to the point of where his knees trembled, and sit in either the darkness, the light of a single lamp, or while gazing into a mirror on the occasion of a night (Hawthorne 99-100). Conscience can be man’s saving grace or his damning affliction; its presence may simultaneously purify and mar. On one such night, Arthur found temporary solace.

The guilt of seven years caused him to steal swiftly to the scaffold, the same scaffold Hester Prynne was publicly shamed years ago – the same scaffold he should have been on. Climbing atop this structure and later being joined by Pearl and Hester, an electrical charge pulsed through his body and he was reawakened (Hawthorne 106-107). However, he still refused to admit his crime in front of the town, and when he returned to the trappings of society, he was greeted again by his familiar hypocrisy. These acts of penance failed in purifying him, and only caused him to lapse further in his distortion of the world and its realities.

Concealing sin and converting to a life of secrecy has forced Dimmesdale to lead a very depressing life. With his last steps, he ascends the scaffold and completes something he feels he should have completed seven years earlier: he accepts his sin, he accepts Hester, and he accepts Pearl. He reveals to the world his humanity and in so doing, forgives himself and is himself forgiven. His conscience and the truth, which had been agonizing him before has purified him, and he is free to achieve the peace he was in search of. Arthur Dimmesdale’s embrace of his conscience and truth lead to a decisive victory in the battle against himself.

In the novel, Arthur Dimmesdale proved to be an effective character in illustrating the theme of conscience and redemption through truth. Through Arthur’s change from merely feeling the pains of his human weakness while being interviewed, to his attempts at relieving his pain through scourging, fasting, and vigils, to his ultimate acceptance of the truth at the final scaffold scene, Nathaniel Hawthorne succeeds in showing that redemption can be achieved through truth alone. Complete atonement comes only with complete truth.

The Scarlet Letter, A Novel With Much Symbolism

The Scarlet Letter is a novel with much symbolism. Throughout the novel several characters represent other ideas. One of the most complex and misunderstood characters in the novel is Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into a dynamic symbol – one that is always changing. Although Pearl changes, she always symbolizes evil. Pearl symbolizes evil in the story by representing God’s punishment of Hester’s sin, symbolizing the guilt and the scarlet letter that controls her behavior, and defying Puritan laws by being cheerful and associating with nature.

Pearl represents God’s punishment by her mocking and nagging of Hester. Throughout the novel she sometimes seemed to her mother as almost a witch baby (Matthiessen 104). She is a baffling mixture of strong emotions with a fierce temper and a capacity for evil. With Pearl, Hester’s life became one of constant nagging, and no joy. The child could not be made amenable to rules. Hester even remarks to herself, “Oh Father in heaven – if thou art still my father – what is this being which I have brought into the world” (Hawthorne 89)?

Pearl would harass her mother Piyasena/Pine 2 over the scarlet “A” she wore. In time, Hester was subjected to so much ridicule from Pearl and others that she was forced into seclusion. Pearl represents the sins of both Hester and Dimmesdale. Pearl is said to be the direct consequence of sin (Martin 108). Their sins include lying to the people about the affair that led to Pearl. Hester realizes what Pearl represents when she does not hold Pearl up in front of the “A. ” She carries the child around because it is a direct reflection of her sin.

Hester is, “wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another” (Hawthorne 48). Dimmesdale’s sin is not adultery but not having the courage to admit that he had adulterated. Therefore his is a “concealed sin. ” The scarlet letter amuses Pearl, and also controls her behavior. It is noted that, Pearl has been described in terms almost exclusively of uncontrolled, chaotic passion (MacLean 54). Throughout the novel Pearl is attracted to the “A. ” Even when she is just a baby, “her infant’s eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter” (Hawthorne 90).

When Pearl is older and Hester throws the letter on the ground, Pearl yells at her mother until she places the “A” back on her bosom. Hawthorne says that Pearl is, “the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life,” (95) which proves the she is truly the scarlet letter. Throughout the book the “A” is the sign by which the colonial authority seek to fix the crime and the criminal (Ragussis 97), although the cloth shows the sin so does Pearl. She is a far stronger device for punishing Hester than Piyasena/Pine 3 the piece of cloth on Hester’s chest.

Due to her influence, Pearl becomes the chief agent to her mother’s salvation. Hester and Dimmesdale share much guilt because of Pearl. Dimmesdale’s guilt is filled with mental anguish, and serves as a constant reminder of his sin. Dimmesdale is a minister [who] commits adultery and is driven to public confession by remorse (Martin 108). He remains silent so that he can continue to do God’s work as a minister. It is said that he was a guilty character [who] finds empathy in connection with others (Peckham 92).

Pearl brings him guilt when he would not stand with them on the scaffold; “Thou was not bold! – thou wast not true! … Thou wouldst not promise to take my hand, and my mother’s hand, tomorrow noontide” (Hawthorne 150)! Hester’s guilt, however, is derived from both Chillingsworth and Dimmesdale. Chillingsworth married a woman who did not love him, which is one of the causes of Hester’s guilt. Dimmesdale causes her guilt when he sees her suffering alone for the sin that they both committed. Though they both committed the same sin, only Hester’s shines through.

Pearl was cheerful due to the scarlet letter her mother possessed. When the breastplate at Governor Bellingham’s Mansion distorts the scarlet “A” into something overpowering and horrible, it is Pearl who points at it, “smiling at her mother with the elfish intelligence that was so familiar an expression on her small physiognomy” (Hawthorne 99). Even as a child, Pearl is affixed to the letter “and, putting up her little hand, she grasped it, [the letter] smiling, not doubtfully, but Piyasena/Pine 4 with a decided gleam” (Hawthorne 90).

Pearl’s tendency to focus on the scarlet letter is fully developed when she mimics her mother by placing a seaweed “A” on her own chest. Much of Pearl’s strangeness comes from her exceptional quickness of mind and the abnormal environment in which she is reared with only her mother as a companion. As Pearl develops a personality, she becomes symbolic of the kind of passion that accompanied Hester’s sin. Hester tolerated Pearl’s pretentious behavior but could not find it in her heart to condemn the child.

As Pearl thus becomes so closely associated with the letter “A” on Hester’s breast she becomes the embodiment not only of Hester’s sin but also of her conscience. Nature is an amusing hobby for Pearl; therefore one of her favorite activities is playing with flowers and trees. She fits in with natural things, “and she was gentler here [the forest] then in the grassy margined streets of the settlement, or in her mother’s cottage” as Hawthorne notes in the novel (202). She is so closely affiliated to nature that the creatures of the forest approach her instead of disperse.

The mother-forest, and these wild things which it nourished, all recognized a kindred wildness in the human child” Hawthorne notes as Pearl is on a walk with her mother (202). However, the Puritans believed that anything affiliated with the forest was evil; therefore, Pearl defies their laws by being effervescent and joyful in the woods. Some of the Puritans even believe her to be a demon offspring. So unusual is her behavior that she is often referred to in such terms as “elf child,” Piyasena/Pine 5 “imp,” and “airy sprite.

Pearl is a virtual shouting match between the Puritanical views and the Romantic ways. Pearl is a source of many kinds of symbolism. She is both a rose and indeed the scarlet letter. If she had not been born, Hester would not have had to wear the letter. Pearl is a burden to Hester; yet Hester loves her. She is also her mother’s only treasure and her only source of survival. Without Pearl, Hester would have lived a different life, one without the scarlet letter, one without sin, and one without her treasure.

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

When the topic of a Puritanical society is brought up, most people think of a rigorous, conservative, highly devout society. While this may have usually been the case, this was not always so. The Puritan society was also known not to act out of brotherly, Christian love, but to cruelly lash out on those who sinned or were deemed unfit for society. Two works of literature that display both aspects of this society very accurately are The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller.

The Scarlet Letter displays a society that treats two people very ifferently who commit the sin of adultery together. The woman, Hester Prynne, admits her sin, is forced to always wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom, and is ostracized from society. The man, Reverend Dimmesdale, hides his sin from the world, is almost worshipped by the townspeople, but is filled with the shame of his action. Hawthorne illustrates how insensitive a Puritan society can be t! o those who admit their wrong doings. The Crucible is a play that tells the story of the famous witchcraft trial in Salem, Massachusetts.

In the story, Abigail Williams, the orphaned niece of the towns minister, Reverend Parris, is he main person who accuses people of sending their spirits on her and the other girls. What starts as children dancing in the woods leads to the accusation and execution of many innocent people for witchcraft. The two works of literature have very similar qualities, including setting, conflict, and general aspects of the characters, while there are also specific parallels between characters, such as Abigail and Hester, and Parris and Dimmesdale. The settings in both The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible are similar in many ways.

The Scarlet Letter takes place around the 1640s, as the The Crucible occurs in 1692. The time period is very important in both pieces, because it is a time of religious intolerance and a conservative attitude pervades in New England, where both works of literature take place. This Puritan setting is also very important in both works of literature. The reason behind the townspeople persecuting sinners is because of the Puritan beliefs of the time period. This is the driving force between the actions of the characters. The setting of a religiously intolerant village is also the main reason behind the conflict that lies in each plot.

The conflicts in both works of literature are also similar. They are both caused by the same thing, the excessively devout town in which the setting takes place. The conflict in The Scarlet Letter that occurs between Dimmesdale, Hester, and Chillingworth is caused by the towns intolerance for sinners. Hesters life is spent in complete loneliness because of the way the town treats her. Chillingworth, Hesters past husband, is like most of the townspeople, because he feels the need to punish and inflict pain on sinners, especially those who have personally harmed him.

Chillingworth tries to gain revenge on Dimmesdale, the man who commits adultery with his wife. The owns desire to seek out and personally condemn sinners is also the source of conflict in The Crucible. In The Crucible, the townspeople hunt out the witches in the community as an attempt to rid the town of evil. In both, the conflict is caused by the towns self appointed right to rancorously persecute a! nd punish anyone who is found sinning. The conflict is also similar because both towns are generally the same. They are both located in the same general area of America, which causes the people to have similar beliefs and traditions.

This includes the townspeople, and the general aspects of the characters. The general aspects of characters are also similar in both The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. Both have a main antagonist, who wishes to punish sinners. In The Scarlet Letter, this person is Roger Chillingworth, who wants to gain revenge on Dimmesdale, and in The Crucible, the antagonist is Abigail Williams, the girl who mainly accuses the people of being witches. Also, both works of literature include ignorant townspeople who contribute to the main conflict. In The Scarlet Letter, these people are the ones who loathe Hester, but love Reverend Dimmesdale.

The eople in Reverend Parris home while his daughter is sick, and the people in court in The Crucible are similar to the townspeople in The Scarlet Letter. Part of this is due to the Puritan setting. This affects the way the people think, and how they view sinners. One other similarity between the characters are the similar town figures in each. In The Scarlet Letter, there is a minister, Dimmesdale, a political! figure, Billingham, and one family that the plot focuses on, which is Hester’s, who go through many problems because of Hesters sin.

The Crucible has a similar Reverend, Parris, political figure, and it also focuses on one main amily, the Proctors who go through many problems due to the witch hunt. Other than the general similarities between characters, there are also many specific parallels. One specific parallel between characters is that of Reverend Parris and Dimmesdale. One obvious similarity is that they are both ministers in the towns they live in. However, more parishoners like Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter than Parris in The Crucible. Yet, both ministers are concerned with their image.

In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale hides his sin to prevent punishment, but this was not the only reason. He also does not confess because he still wants he Puritans to idolize and venerate him, which they do to an extreme. Parris is also very much like Dimmesdale in The Crucible, because he also cares greatly about public image. He does not want people to think his daughter actually signs the Black Mans book, and wants to hide her mysterious illness from the parishioners. Also, he fears John Proctor, because Proctor does not like him. Parris feels that anyone that does not like him will become a threat to his authority as the minister.

That is one reason he p! resses the execution of John Proctor. Another reason he presses the executions is because he cannnot bear the hought of witches in his parish. If there are witches, this would prove he is not performing his job as he should. Besides the parallel of ministers, there are also other parallels between characters in these two works. Another parallel is between Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter and Abigail Williams in The Crucible. While Hester is considered the protagonist in The Scarlet Letter and Abigail is considered the antagonist in The Crucible, both are startlingly similar in many ways.

For one thing, both go through the same types of problems, because they are both very much alone in their lives. Hester is shunned by society and lives on the outskirts of town. Abigail is an orphan, and considering she is never really part of a family, she probably has a feeling of loneliness for all of her life. Another similarity between the two is that they are both adulteresses. Hester is a married woman who is unfaithful by sleeping with another man, Dimmesdale. Abigail is not married, but also commits adultery by sleeping with a married man, John Proctor. Both sins are essential to the plot of both works of literature.

However, Hester pays the price of this sin, while Abigail does not. The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible are written in two different time periods, but are still similar in many ways. Both demonstrate the true aspects of a Puritan society very accurately. Because of this accuracy, naturally they are similar and have many parallels. Both have similar conflicts, settings, and characters. The fact that they have so many parallels is probably the reason why both are considered outstanding works of literature. They both contain the same element of truth and accuracy of the Puritan society and will most likely survive as great works of literature.

The Scarlet Letter, The Best Of His Writings

Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter is considered the best of his writings. It may also be the most strongest statement of his recurrent themes, an excellent example of his craftsmanship. Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter during emancipation of women liberation. Therefore, many of his thoughts and ideas about what was happening around him was very influential in his literature. The main thematic emphasis in The Scarlet Letter is on sin and its effects upon both the individual and society.

It is frequently noted that Hawthornes preoccupation with sin originates from the Puritan-rooted culture in which he lived, and from his awareness of two of his own ancestors who had presided over bloody persecutions during the Salem witchcraft trials. There is a certain irony in the way in which this concept is worked out in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynnes pregnancy forces her sin to public view, and she is compelled to wear the scarlet A as a symbol of her adultery.

Yet, although she is apparently isolated from the normal association with the decent folk, Hester, having come to terms with her sin, is inwardly reconciled to God and herself. Hester does not isolate herself from the Puritan town; instead, her isolation is inflicted upon her. Hester tries to establish a normal and honest relationship with many of the characters in the story, but sometimes it becomes very difficult. Pearl, Hesters daughter, becomes so closely associated with the A on Hesters chest, becoming, as Hawthorne says, the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life.

Therefore, she becomes the embodiment not only of her mothers sin but of her conscience. Furthermore, because it is through Hesters acceptance of punishment that she is saved, Pearl becomes the main agent in her mothers liberation. Even though Hester has plenty of things and people to worry about, she does her best to raise her daughter with good morals and tries to educate her about honesty. Hester does get her message through to Pearl, and we recognize this when she wants to shed herself of the A.

However, Pearl tells her mother to wear the A because it is a part of them now and it reflects honesty. Arthur Dimmesdale, the father of Pearl, is a well educated and very modest man. He keeps his sin a secret for seven long years and torments his own conscience the whole time. You would think that Hester would isolate herself from Arthur to avoid their secret and try to forget about their past as much as possible. Instead, she wants to be with him because she knows how he feels.

Of course, she might be doing this to eliminate suspicion from the townspeople; but, I think she just wants to be with Dimmesdale, the man she loves. She loves him so much that she does not want him to confess to his sin and offers to take full blame and punishment. Another important unity that still remained after Hester Prynnes sin of adultery was between herself and the Puritan people.. Even though Hester had sinned, the people in the town still talked to her and Hester still talked to them. They came to her with their problems and she tried to help.

She sewed for them with one restriction, not to sew for any type of marriage ceremonies. Hester could not blame the townspeople for her punishment because they were just following their morals and what was being taught to them from the Bible. Hester did not plan to commit the sin of adultery, nor did she deliberately plan to do any harm to others. It was obvious that she deeply loved Arthur Dimmesdale and her passion for love was stronger than the New Worlds Puritan code of morals. As Hester says, What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so!

We said so to each other! Although, Hester is not a Puritan, she still has respect for the Puritan code and what they believed in. She knew that if she isolated herself from that, it would make the situation worse. Consequently, I feel that Hesters isolation is inflicted upon her rather than willfully sought by her. I think her attempt to establish an honest relationship with other human beings was a great attempt and somewhat successful. By her actions to not totally isolate herself from the Puritans, it showed her honesty and respect for others.

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, contains many profound characters. The townspeople intrigue the reader because they gradually evolve throughout the book, as would any solitary character. In the beginning of the novel, they are generally rigid and judgmental towards Hester, because she has committed adultery. Throughout the novel, they slowly allow Hester and her daughter into their community, but still look at them with suspicion and doubt. Finally, in the end of The Scarlet Letter, the town forgives her of her sin, and she cautiously finds her place in society.

Hawthorne uses the strict Puritan townspeople as a criterion by which all societies can be measured. The townspeople, as with any individual character, possess a certain depth that develops with knowledge. Readers generally characterize the Puritan Townspeople in The Scarlet Letter by their attitudes in the beginning of the novel. When Hester first walks into the scene, most of the townspeople are very harsh and strict in their religions. They believe that adultery is one of the worst sins possible. One unyielding woman says, “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die.

Is there not law for it? Truly, there is, both in the Scripture and in the statutebook. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect, thank themselves if their own wives and daughters go astray. ” Although a young woman and a righteous man try to intervene with the angry old women, their voices are never heard. Also, Hawthorne associates ugliness with wickedness; therefore, all of the stingy women are described as being very ugly. They regard her not as a fellow sinner but as a woman so evil that she must be ostracized from her “perfect” community.

They view the scarlet letter that she wears upon her breast as a symbol of her atrocious crime of adultery and nothing more. The women in the beginning of the novel are so quick to pass judgment on others, yet they fail to recognize the sin in themselves. Once they realize this obstacle, the townspeople will become more understanding of Hester’s situation. Throughout the novel, the harsh Puritan townspeople begin to realize the abilities of Hester despite her past. Hester works selflessly and devotes herself to the wellbeing of others.

Hester sought not to acquire anything beyond a subsistence of the plainest and most ascetic description, for herself, and a simple abundance for her child. ” The townspeople begin to see the scarlet letter that she wears in a whole new light. Its meaning changes from “adultery” to “able. ” They grasp the idea that although she has had a complicated and possibly sinful past, she is still capable of good deeds and has a place in their society. Products of Hester’s inventive mind become accepted by the Puritan community, and “her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion.

As Hester grows, the townspeople gain a new sort of open-mindedness allowing them to grant her an abode in their municipality. However, this new attitude is tainted because many Puritans maintain feelings of hatred towards an evil sinner. They often stare at her scarlet letter, alienating her from the town. “They accordingly stood, fixed there by the centrifugal force of the repugnance which the magic symbol inspired. ” Although the townspeople allow Hester to return to society, she is still viewed as a disgrace.

In the end of the novel, the townspeople finally come to accept the idea that Hester and Pearl have just as equal parts in the society as the townspeople have. They hold respect for her because of her strength in times of anguish and despair. “Here had been her sin; here, her sorrow; and here was yet to be her penitence… the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence, too.

Her scarlet letter became a legacy, and people remembered the woman associated with the letter rather than the act. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the townspeople in his novel The Scarlet Letter as a criterion against which other societies can be weighed. The Puritan townspeople bring forth and inspire forgiveness. Readers can hypothesize that because such a harsh society is capable of such a simple act, all people are competent to forgive. The Puritan society, by evolving throughout the novel, shows a human nature to forgive.

The Scarlet Letter – Pearl Belieavble or Not

Throughout the book Pearl either says or does things that are not typical of a girl of her age. After Hester talks to Chillingworth, Pearl is asked if she knows why Hester wears the scarlet letter. Pearl replies, It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart. I do not believe that a seven your old girl could be observant enough to discover that the same reason that Dimmesdale puts his hand over his heart is the same reason that Hester wears the scarlet letter.

If the whole town did not discover that there was something going on between Dimmesdale and Hester, then how could pearl? Another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale are talking in the forest, and Dimmesdale decides to give Pearl a kiss. Pearl then walks over to the brook and washes off the kiss. Pearl seemed to like Dimmesdale previous to this incident, and now all of a sudden, she does not like Dimmesdale enough to not wipe off his kiss?

Yet another example that Pearl is not a believable child is when she is walking in the woods alone, she says, Why art thou so sad? Pluck up a spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring! “. If a young girl believes that a brook can be sad, that shows some serious mental problems. Most children would think of a brook as a brook, not a sad brook, and tell it to pluck up its spirit. Also in the forest when Pearl is talking to Hester, Pearl says, And so it is! And, mother, he has his hand over his heart!

Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?. I do not believe that Pearl would know that Arthur Dimmesdale has sinned, and even if she did know, how could she be smart enough to know that he wore his shame in secrecy. No child seven years old could determine that, even if they where extremely smart and observant. Those are just a few of the reasons that Pearl is not a believable child.

Pearl also showed signs of a normal, somewhat believable child. An example of her being believable is at the Governors mansion, Pearl is asked by Mr. Wilson who made her, Pearl says that she was plucked by her mother from a rose bush. Sounds like a typical three year old saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Yet another example of how Pearl is a believable child is at the festival when the seamen asks Pearl to relay a message to Hester and pearl replies, “If the message pleases me I will.

I believe that most seven year olds would come up with something quite similar to that. Another good example of Pearl being believable is when she threw the stones at the sea birds. I believe that a typical girl of her age would do the same thing out of curiosity and boredom. Throughout a full day Pearl relentlessly asks Hester why she wears the scarlet letter. Even though Hester repeatedly tells Pearl to stop asking, Pearl keeps it up, typical of a seven-year-old child.

Anyalization of Pearl from the ‘Scarlet Letter’

One of the most significant writers of the romantic period in American literature was Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne wrote stories that opposed the ideas of Transcendentalism. Since he had ancestors of Puritan belief, Hawthorne wrote many stories about Puritan New England. His most famous story is the Scarlet Letter. This novel tells of the punishment of a woman, Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and gave birth to Pearl. A minister of Boston, Arthur Dimmesdale, had an affair with Hester while believing that her husband, Roger Chillingworth, had died.

However, Chillingworth did not die and appears during the early stages of Hester’s punishment. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the character of Pearl in the Scarlet Letter. Her whole life had many difficulties while living in Puritan New England. Furthermore, Pearl displays much parallelism to the scarlet letter that Hester must wear. Finally, Pearl’s birth intensified the conflicts in the novel. Clearly, Pearl becomes the symbol of all the other major characters’ tragedies. Chronology The character of Pearl in the Scarlet Letter lived a very difficult life.

Before the novel begins, Hester Prynne gives birth to Pearl after having an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan minister. Pearl’s birth proves that Hester cheated on her husband Roger Chillingworth provoking the stories action. The novel opens with the people of Boston staring and laughing at Hester holding Pearl while standing on the town’s scaffold. At this time, Pearl is three months old. Years later Hester gets released from jail and lives with Pearl in the outskirts of town. Since Hester becomes alienated from Boston, Pearl turns into “her mother’s only treasure! Hawthorne 76).

Hester makes bright red clothes for Pearl that parallel the scarlet “A. ” At age three, Pearl endures many laughs and jokes from other Puritan children but chases them away with stones. Since Pearl’s birth resulted from broken rules, she does not feel the obligation to follow rules. Although her life is an outcast of Puritan society, Pearl’s language shows a high level of intelligence. Later, Hester receives word that the magistrates want to take Pearl away from her. Hester takes Pearl to the governor’s house where the child meets her father, Arthur Dimmesdale.

After Dimmesdale persuades the governors to allow Hester to keep Pearl, he gives the child a kiss on the forehead. This kiss hints that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father. When Hester and Pearl return from Governor Winthrop’s death bed, they join Dimmesdale standing on the town’s scaffold. Pearl asks Dimmesdale “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide? ” (Hawthorne 131) twice. Realizing that Arthur is her father, Pearl wants him to confess his sin so that the three of them can live peacefully. Next, Hester takes Pearl for a walk in the woods to meet Dimmesdale.

While the two lovers talk and come up with plans to leave for England, Pearl goes off and plays in the woods. After Hester and Dimmesdale finish talking, Pearl returns and finds that her mother has removed the scarlet letter. Pearl, who has grown attached to the “A,” throws a temper tantrum until Hester puts the letter back on her dress. Later, Dimmesdale kisses Pearl, who then runs to a brook and washes off the kiss. Pearl does not accept Dimmesdale as her father. At the end of the novel, Hester and Pearl go to England, but Hester returns and dies in Boston.

Hawthorne never tells exactly what happened to Pearl. The people of Boston have many different ideas about Pearl’s fate. For example, some believe that she died or that she married and received money from Chillingworth’s will. The character of Pearl portrayed a large role in the plot of the Scarlet Letter. Significance Nathaniel Hawthorne develops Pearl into the most obvious central symbol of the novel, the scarlet letter. First, Pearl’s birth resulted from the sin of adultery, the meaning of the “A. ” Since she came from a broken rule, Pearl does not feel that she has to follow rules.

Hawthorne expresses that “The child could not be made amendable to rules” (Hawthorne 91). Next, Pearl exhibits the same characteristics as the scarlet letter. For example, the letter contains scarlet fabric. Hester makes red clothes for Pearl to wear, making her an outcast of Puritan society. Likewise, wearing the scarlet letter has made Hester an outcast of society. Furthermore, Pearl grows just as Hester continues to enlarge the letter by adding golden thread. During infancy, “The letter is the first object that Pearl becomes aware of” (Baym 57).

Throughout her life, Pearl ecame very attached to the scarlet letter that was on Hester’s bosom. When Hester removed it in the forest, Pearl became detached from her mother. Finally, at the end of the novel Hester, still wearing the scarlet letter, returns to Boston without Pearl. Although Hawthorne does not tell what happened to Pearl, the reader learns about the death of Hester. Before Hester died, she continued to wear the scarlet letter. While all alone in Boston, one can reason that Hester wore the letter to keep Pearl a part of herself.

Since Pearl symbolized the scarlet letter, she held a large ole in the plot of the Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne’s character of Pearl is the most significant object in developing the plot of the Scarlet Letter. To start, Pearl’s birth proved Hester’s sin of adultery. Subsequently, the people of Boston forced Hester to wear the scarlet letter. The letter turns Hester into an outcast of society. Next, when Chillingworth found out that Hester gave birth to Pearl, he became determined to find the father of the child. Chillingworth thinks that Dimmesdale had the affair with Hester, but he cannot prove it.

While caring for Dimmesdale, Chillingworth commits many cruel deeds against he minister. Pearl helped to create the conflict between Chillingworth and Dimmesdale. Furthermore, Pearl’s birth reminded Dimmesdale of his sin of having an affair with Hester. Because of his cowardly personality, Dimmesdale tries to fast and whip the sin from his body plus “confessing his sin as he faces his Sunday congregation” (Leavitt 74). The birth of Pearl ignited the conflict within Dimmesdale. Finally, the conflict between Pearl and the children of Boston surfaces. Pearl’s red clothing becomes a target of other children’s jokes.

If the affair had never roduced a child, then the novel’s major conflicts most likely would be less intense. Therefore, every major conflict has its roots with Pearl’s birth. In Hawthorne’s novel the Scarlet Letter, Pearl represents the anguish in the lives of the other major characters. Life in Puritan New England presented many difficulties for Hester Prynne’s daughter Pearl. Next, Pearl becomes a scarlet letter as the novel progresses. Finally, the most significant part of the Scarlet Letter’s plot was the birth and life of Pearl. The purpose of this essay was to analyze the character Pearl from the Scarlet Letter.

Most of her characteristics show that Pearl could be a real child. For example, Pearl’s language expresses a sign of a child prodigy with a good parent teacher. Pearl’s behavior could also mean that she feels rebellious to all of the hardships that she acquires from society. Finally, Pearl compares with a real child in that she constantly tries throughout the novel to find out what takes place around her. Overall, Nathaniel Hawthorne developed Pearl successfully and made her one of the most significant and memorable characters in the Scarlet Letter.

A World of Guilt

All human beings will, at some point carry some amount of guilt with them. Whether they could have prevented what happened or not, humans tend to carry guilt. Hester Prynne will forever carry the guilt of committing adultery. This is shown when Hawthorne writes, Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life (53). In his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about sin and hypocrisy by describing the trials and tribulations of Hester Prynne.

Hawthorne wants the readers of his book to dig deeper into their own thoughts and beliefs and examine if they themselves are hypocritical in daily life. Hester shows throughout the book that she carries a great deal of guilt. Hester refuses to give the name of her lover in an attempt to shield him from her grief. She shows this early in the book when she says, I will not speak (64). She also tries to conceal the name of Pearl s father to shield him from guilt. Hester tells the crowd at the scaffold that her child will not know her father when she says,

And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one! (64). Hester bears her guilt in a variety of ways. First she pampers her only treasure, Pearl. She wants the focus of peoples attention to be on Pearl, which she shows when the story states Her mother, with a morbid purpose, that may be better understood hereafter, had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye. 2). Hester helps the poor in an attempt to help pay back society for her sin.

The story says, To Hester Prynne it might have been a mode of expressing ,and therefore soothing, the passion of her life. (85) This quote shows her grief is being express in the clothing she makes. By the end of the story, its clear that Hester, through her acts and accomplishments has redeemed herself and is now saved from eternal pain in hell. She had to face many harsh people in her town that would buy her clothes but labeled her as a terrible person.

Hester is saved because she served her long term in prison, served her lifetime term with the scarlet letter upon her breast, and helped society through her wisdom and contributions. Hester was saved due to her advanced parenting techniques that molded Pearl into a beautiful and well raised young lady. Hester learns from her mistakes and lets Pearl figure things out with a guiding hand always behind her This idea was an unheard of one for its time but Pearl is proof of its success.

Nathaniel Hawthorne s novel The Scarlet Letter was a story meant to have people look deeper into the way we treat each other. Hawthorne s goal was to open peoples eyes to the evil that lurks within the most righteous of people and to open some peoples eyes to their own hypocrisy. Hester Prynne, throughout the story shows that she is harboring a lot of built up inner guilt, that she never lets go of. Hester, through her acts of kindness, is saved from eternal damnation in hell.

Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism in literature is the deepness and hidden meaning in a piece of work. It is often used to represent a moral or religious belief or value. Without symbolism literature is just a bunch of meaningless words on paper. The most symbolic piece of work in American Literature is Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter. Hawthornes use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter is one of the most significant contributions to the rise of American Literature. Much of Hawthornes symbolism is very hard to find but several symbols are also obvious.

In the first chapter Hawthorne describes the prison as “the black flower of civilized society”. The prison represents the crime and punishment that was incorporated in the early Puritan life. He also contrasts the prison with the tombstone at the end of the novel by suggesting that crime and punishment bring about the end of civilized life. In the same chapter he describes the overgrown vegetation of weeds around the prison. The weeds symbolize how corrupt civilization really is. He also points out a positive symbol, the wild rose bush.

This represents the blossoming of good out of the darkness of all civilized life. The most important symbol which is carried throughout the novel is undoubtedly the scarlet letter A. It initially symbolizes the immoral act of adultery but by the end of the novel the “A” has hidden much more meaning than that. The “A” appears in many other places than on the chest of Hester Prynne. It is seen on the armor breastplate at Governor Bellinghams mansion. At night while Dimmesdale is standing on the scaffold he sees a bright red letter A in the sky.

While Pearl is playing near the bay shore she arranges some grass in the form of an A on her own breast. But one of the most important As is one the spectators see burnt on Dimmesdales chest. The letter A also has a variety of meanings. Originally standing for the sin of adultery it has a different meaning for each character. The Puritan community considers the letter a mark of just punishment. Hester sees the letter as a symbol of unjust humiliation. Dimmesdale sees the A as a reminder of his own guilt. Chillingworth sees the A as a quest for revenge to find the adulterer.

Pearl is very curious of the letter and sees it as a great mystery. The A also stands for “Angel” when it is seen in the sky on the night of Governor Winthrops death. Symbolism shows the greatness of an authors ability to supply meaning to his work. It also shows the pride an author takes in his work. Nathaniel Hawthornes use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter shows his greatness to produce a novel of the highest possible caliber. These are the reasons why Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter is American Literatures most famous symbolic novel ever to be written.

Scarlet Letter Literary Criticism

All great stories have thorough reports from several different literary critics, what do they have to say on The Scarlet Letter? The Scarlet Letter in the nineteenth century is comparable to early twentieth century and late twentieth century criticism. Early nineteenth century critics think the story was a tremendous work of art. A Review of New Books thought the story is a genuine native romance (Ripley 295). This is shown through the struggle of Hester and Arthur to have a secret love affair and find time to see each other periodically throughout the story.

Ripley believes The Scarlet Letter is his greatest work by imposing splendor of portative (295). Hawthorne is a master at telling this story very haunted at times. Ripley ponders, Roger Chillingworth is depicted with such fearful directness and vigor that it is his informal presence that must long haunt the chamber of memory (295). The critic feels that Hawthorne would move the audience to a sad place as Chillingworth haunted Dimmesdale. Hawthornes work is even considered better than the highly famous Edgar Allen Poe.

Ripley states, Hawthorne makes his tragedies with a wonderful insight and skill, to which the intellect of Poe was a stranger (295). This is a great compliment for Hawthorne, as Poe has some great dark stories. But its true, because it seems like this story was always gloomy. Just when you think things are going to get good at the end, when Dimmesdale is in a good mood, he quickly gets sick again. This was very interesting, because it is a different twist to the normal happy story. The people in the story as a whole are spoken of.

The people in the story were more symbolic than just a character, very picturesquely arranged, mainly because the story isnt about them, but what they stand for (James 29). For instance, Pearl is the living sin. Nineteenth century criticism is positive to the story. Early twentieth century criticism continues what took place in nineteenth century criticism, to be very optimistic about the story, but takes a deeper look into the main characters. Mark Van Doven points out the greatness of the characters. He explains Pearl in a short, but fascinating way, Pearl has something supernatural about her.

She may even be the devils child (Van Doren 135). Pearl, the living sin, haunts Hester at times with her tricky questions. Van Doren says of Dimmesdale, Dimmesdales purpose, still do not give him peace. The blood comes, but not his soul, for there is no penitence. He tortures, but cannot purify himself (131). He is a sad character in this story. It seems like all he does is suffer and suffer. Either way, Arthur would have been tortured, either physically or mentally. If he came out early on, they would have killed him, but he kept it in, so he suffered mentally.

Hawthorne did this magically. Van Doven speaks highest on Hawthornes work of Hester, Hester becomes a heroine, almost a goddess, into when the character every other woman in Hawthorne flows (130). She is ridiculed so much during the story, but lived her life sewing elaborate dresses. After Arthurs death, people would finally talk to her again. Hester is a passionate woman, shown through her state of excitement feeding in frenzy, in the prison after her first exposure to the crowd (131). She cries for a while there, after being so strong on the scaffold.

Critics of the early twentieth century were constructive of The Scarlet Letter. Late twentieth century criticism spoke of only good things of the Scarlet Letter as well, as they depicted the interesting character or Chillingworth. Neilson talks of Hawthornes character work, Neilson believed Chillingworths power died when Arthur died, forcing him to shrivel up and pass away quickly. Neilson talks of Roger, Chillingworth is a dabbler in black music, a porche where clearly predates his animal in Boston (Neilson 273). He is a wicked man who sinned more than he had to to make Dimmesdales life a living hell.

More of Chillingworth is explained, he is the wronged husband, but ironically the most condensed sinner. That is because he is the only one of the three who deliberately chooses evil (273). Roger is the worst of the three, and was never loved as well. Late twentieth century spoke highly of The Scarlet Letter too. All three time periods have critics that were upbeat on The Scarlet Letter. This shows that The Scarlet Letter is a well written story. Seeing that critics from late nineteenth century, early twentieth century, and late twentieth century are all positive.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter

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,” meaning “adulteress,” on her bosom for the rest of her life.

The book focuses mainly on the sin that was committed because it effected the whole community. The scarlet letter had one basic meaning, “adultery,” but to the characters of Hester and Dimmesdale it was a constant reminder of the sin; and to Pearl it was a symbol of curiosity. Obviously, the scarlet letter had the largest impact on Hester, it was a constant reminder of the sin she committed. The “A” she must wear on her bosom completely humiliates her in front of everyone she meets, she begins to even hide behind it, trying to conceal her identity.

Hawthorne is referring to Hester in the quote, “The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her and concentrated on her bosom” (55). So many people are staring at her as if she”s the most unfaithful, awful person in the world. She knows that she will never regain the respect she had before this incident. The scarlet letter she wears will constantly remind her and the townspeople that she is a sinner.

While at Governor Bellingham”s mansion, Hester can”t help but notice while looking into the shining armor how much the “A” stands out. The “A” is seen “in exaggeration and gigantic proportions, so as to be the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it” (102). Right then and there, she realizes how much the “A” has become a part of her. She believes if the “A” becomes magnified in her reflection, the people who look at her must only notice the scarlet letter.

She sees herself as if her true appearance is being hidden behind the A and she feels that no one looks at her anymore, just the letter. The scarlet letter has ruined her reputation, as well as her appearance. On Hester and Pearl”s way to Governor Bellingham”s mansion, Hawthorne talks about the way Pearl is dressed. Pearl was described as “the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life! ” (98). Hester dresses her daughter up like the scarlet letter. Pearl”s dress matches the scarlet letter; it was a scarlet color with gold embroidering.

Hester made the dress like that to prove that Pearl was the object of her affection. By looking at Pearl, Hester was also reminded of the guilt and torture she had been put through. Hester has no way to get rid of the guilt she felt for committing adultery because the result of the sin was Pearl. In Dimmesdale”s mind, the “A” represents the guilt he feels for committing the sin. Dimmesdale knew what he had done was wrong and had no way to forgive himself for it. After Hesters sin became public, the Reverend Dimmesdale would always hold one hand upon his bosom.

Chillingworth became suspicious one day and thrust aside Dimmesdales vestment. Chillingworth then found out Dimmesdale also wears an “A” on his bosom. Dimmesdale was “conscious that the poison of one morbid spot was infecting his hearts entire substance, attributing to all his presentiments to no other cause” (137). The “A” is described as the poison, which effects the morbid spot it is on, his heart. The “A” Dimmesdale and Hester wear constantly reminds them of the sin. He is a Reverend and that is against his morals, it makes him weak to even think he went against God.

He gets weaker and weaker as time evolves and keeps his sin a total secret. As a way of trying to take away some of his guilt he goes to the scaffold Hester had stood upon, even though he knows, “If the same multitude which had stood as eyewitnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment could now have been summoned forth, they would have discerned no face above the platform, nor hardly the outline of a human shape, in the dark gray of the midnight. But the town was all asleep” (143). Somehow he thinks standing on the scaffold in front of no one will relieve a little bit of guilt.

It was night and even if people were there, it would be so dark they wouldn”t even be able to tell who he was. He wants to rid himself of his guilt without people finding out he is the father of Pearl. Being a Reverend who committed adultery, Dimmesdale”s chances of admitting to the crime and not receiving the death penalty are slim,which that is probably one of the main reasons hes not telling the town what he did. Another way of trying to relieve the guilt he has is by self-punishment. Dimmesdale even begins beating himself as a way to get rid of some guilt.

He also begins all night vigils trying to ask for forgiveness. Years go by and Dimmesdale is soon going to die after all the things he put himself through, So on Election Day he tells the people of Boston that he is the father of Pearl and to prove it he, “tore away the ministerial band form before his breast. It was revealed! ” (250). Dimmesdale knew he was going to die soon so he finally admitted to his crime. He didn”t want to die with his sins not admitted. After years of keeping his guilt locked up inside him, he finally releases it.

It must have relieved him until the time he died. Seven years is a long time to keep a huge secret. He put himself through so much pain trying to make himself feel better, but in the end it killed him. Pearl has an idea of what the “A” means, but she is very curious and anxious to find out exactly what it means. Pearl is described as an unusually smart child. She doesnt get along with any of the other kids and is always imagining things that are improper for such a little girl. Hester believes that Pearl is too young to find out the meaning of the scarlet letter yet.

Hester was left in disbelief when Pearl answered Reverend Wilsons question of how she was made, by saying she was, “plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door” (108). Although Pearl supposedly knows nothing about the sin, she definitely lets everyone know she has somewhat of an idea about what happened. Maybe it was because she didnt have a father figure and everyone else did or maybe it was because her mother wore a scarlet letter and no one elses mother did.

She was described as a smart girl, so perhaps she pieced together those facts and came up with that extraordinary idea. After that incident she began to notice the “A” more often. While her mother and Chillingworth were talking, she goes down to the seashore and takes “some eel grass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mothers. A letter – the letter “A” – but freshly green, instead of scarlet” (174). Pearl still doesnt know what the letter means and becomes more and more curious about it.

Recently she had become fascinated by the letter, it somehow attracted her attention. In the previous quote Pearl was making an “A” to wear upon her bosom. She doesnt know what it stands for, so she probably assumes it is good. Pearl wants to know the meaning of the letter because it is so mysterious. Finally Pearl directly asks Hester, “What does the letter mean, Mother? – and why dost thou wear it? – and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart? ” (177). Hester totally disregards the question and doesnt answer Pearl.

She also notices that the minister always keeps his hand over his heart in the same place that Hester wears the letter “A. ” As Pearl becomes older, she”s becoming much more observant and determined to figure out why her mother wears a scarlet letter, why the Reverend always hold his hand to his heart, and why she has no father. Finally before Dimmesdale dies, the mystery of the “A” is solved and she realizes what the true meaning is. The scarlet letter symbolized many different things that were all mainly fixed by the end of the book.

Dimmesdale finally admitted he was Pearls father before he passed on, Pearl finally realized really what the letter meant, and Hester regained most of the respect she had lost. The thoughts in The Scarlet Letter are much different in modern days. The beliefs and morals have changed. Committing adultery is not such a big deal anymore. The book shows that some things have changed and some things have not. Maybe by reading this book it could change someones mind on what is right and what is wrong. Everyone commits sins, no one is perfect; but hopefully by reading this book it will make people think twice how they treat people.

Summary of Nathaniel Hawthornes “The Scarlet Letter”

The story takes place in the Puritan village of Boston, Massachusetts, during the first half of the 17th Century. Several years before the novel begins, Hester Prynne came to the New World to await the arrival of her husband who had business to conclude in Europe. However, Hester’s husband was captured by Indians upon his arrival in New England and did not arrive in Boston as Hester expected. While living alone in Boston and believing her husband dead, Hester committed adultery and became pregnant.

The village magistrates imprisoned her for this sin and decreed she must wear a scarlet “A” on the bodice of her dress for the rest of her life. While in prison, Hester, highly skilled in needlework, elaborately embroidered the scarlet letter with gold thread. Before her release from prison, Hester was forced to stand on the public scaffold where all the villagers could see her. As the story opens, Hester is leaving the prison to take her position on the scaffold. She wears the scarlet letter and carries with dignity her three-month-old daughter Pearl.

As Hester endures this public disgrace, Roger Chillingworth, an old man new to the village, asks members of the crowd about her and learns as much of her story as is commonly known. When he asks the identity of the child’s father, he discovers Hester has refused to divulge this information. From the balcony overlooking the scaffold, the young Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale also asks for this information and eloquently appeals to Hester to publicly name her partner in sin. She refuses.

Upon her return to prison, Hester is distraught, and Roger Chillingworth, a self-proclaimed physician, comes to calm her and the babe. Chillingworth, who is actually Hester’s husband, refuses to publicly acknowledge her and share in her shame. He makes Hester promise to keep his true identity secret and vows to discover and avenge himself on the man who has wronged him. Hester and Pearl take up residence in a small cottage at the edge of the village. Using her needlework skills, Hester supports herself and Pearl by sewing for the magistrates and wealthy villagers.

She also sews for the poor as an act of charity. Although they live humbly, Hester’s one extravagance is the way she dresses Pearl. Hester fashions scarlet, elaborately embroidered dresses for Pearl. The townspeople generally shun Hester and her daughter. Three years pass, and Hester learns the magistrates are considering taking Pearl away from her. Hester passionately implores Governor Bellingham to allow her to keep Pearl, who is her sole joy as well as a constant reminder of her sin.

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale speaks in behalf of Hester, and Pearl is allowed to remain with her mother. As Hester and Pearl leave the Governor’s Mansion, Mistress Hibbins, the Governor’s sister, invites Hester to meet the Black Man in the forest. Hester happily declines the offer because she must take care of Pearl. The story now turns to Roger Chillingworth. Following his secret interview with Hester in prison, Chillingworth becomes a respected member of the community and personal medical advisor to Arthur Dimmesdale, whose health is failing.

Chillingworth uses his medical knowledge to treat the minister’s physical condition, but suspects some wound or trouble in Dimmesdale’s soul is contributing to his declining health. Intent on discovering the truth about Arthur Dimmesdale, Chillingworth one day comes upon the minister in his sleep, pushes aside his shirt, and reads the secret of the minister’s heartthe Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is Hester Prynne’s partner in adultery and the father of little Pearl. Chillingworth acknowledges Dimmesdale as his enemy and thus makes him the unsuspecting victim of his malevolent revenge.

Although Dimmesdale lacks the courage to confess his sin publicly and risk ruining his reputation as a man of God, he suffers privately. In addition to his constant mental torment, he punishes himself physically with a bloody scourge, fasts to the point of weakness, and keeps nightly vigils. On one of these vigil nights, seven years after Hester stood in solitary shame upon the scaffold, Dimmesdale, thinking the rest of the town is asleep, stands on that same scaffold. However, Hester and Pearl pass the scaffold as they return home from watching at the deathbed of Governor Winthrop.

Dimmesdale invites them to ascend the steps and the three stand together on the scaffold. Pearl asks him if they will stand together tomorrow, but Dimmesdale tells her it cannot be. Chillingworth sees the trio on the scaffold. Dimmesdale appeals to Hester for support against the nameless horror he feels for Chillingworth. Hiding his hatred for Dimmesdale, Chillingworth approaches and leads the minister back home. Hester is shocked by the decay of Dimmesdale’s nerve and moral force. She infers Chillingworth to be the insidious cause of his weakened state.

Realizing she has allowed this to happen by keeping Chillingworth’s identity a secret, Hester resolves to talk to her former husband and try to rescue Dimmesdale from his evil influence. Soon after, Hester approaches Chillingworth and asks him to stop tormenting Dimmesdale. When Chillingworth refuses, she tells her former husband she must reveal the secret of his identity. Chillingworth tells her to do what she will with the minister. Several days later, Hester intercepts Arthur Dimmesdale as he is walking through the forest. The two retreat to the seclusion of the woods and talk while Pearl plays among the nearby trees.

Arthur tells Hester he detests living a lie and is relieved to look into the eyes of one who knows him for what he really is. Hester tells him that Chillingworth also possesses this knowledge, and that he was the husband she betrayed. Dimmesdale is initially horrified, but soon forgives Hester for keeping Chillingworth’s secret. Fearing further revenge from Chillingworth, Dimmesdale asks Hester what he should do. She suggests they leave Boston and return to the Old World. Arthur agrees, and they plan to leave aboard the ship currently in the harbor.

In their newly discovered freedom, Hester removes the scarlet letter and the cap which binds her hair. Hester wants Arthur to know Pearl and summons her from the trees. But Pearl, distressed by her mother’s altered appearance, comes reluctantly. Pearl then bursts into a fit of passion and insists her mother don the letter and cap before she will behave civilly. Hester does this sadly. Dimmesdale gives the child a kiss, which she immediately washes off in the brook. Upon returning to the village, Hester makes arrangements with the ship’s captain for the passage.

Arthur is secretly pleased they will not leave until after Election Day when he will have the honor of delivering the Election Sermon. When Election Day arrives, the ship’s captain tells Hester that Chillingworth will be traveling with them. Hester cannot warn Dimmesdale of this new development because the Election Procession, of which he is part, is beginning. Reverend Dimmesdale’s sermon is a brilliant triumph, but as the procession is leaving the church, he surprises everyone by inviting Hester and Pearl to ascend the scaffold with him once again, this time in front of the entire village.

Chillingworth tries unsuccessfully to dissuade Dimmesdale from this action. Hester supports Arthur, and Pearl holds his hand as the three of them climb onto the scaffold. The scaffold is the only place Roger Chillingworth dares not follow Dimmesdale, and he looks on unhappily as Dimmesdale escapes his revenge. On the scaffold, Dimmesdale confesses his sin and tears away his shirt to reveal what appears to be a scarlet “A” on his own breast. Chillingworth laments that Dimmesdale has escaped him, and Dimmesdale tells him he too has sinned deeply.

Pearl kisses her father’s lips and her tears fall on his cheek. A dying man, Dimmesdale bids Hester farewell, but cannot assure her they will meet again in Heaven, reminding her of the gravity of their sin. Dimmesdale is buried in the village cemetery. Roger Chillingworth dies within the year, leaving Pearl a considerable amount of property. Hester and Pearl leave Boston, but years later, Hester returns and takes up residence in her old cottage where she lives until she dies. She is buried next to Dimmesdale, and although their graves do not touch, they share a common gravestone.

The Effects of Sin

“But a lie is never good, even though death threatens on the other side” (The Scarlet Letter). Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, is a story that illustrates intricate pieces of the Puritan lifestyle. Lying of course was considered a tremendous sin in the eyes of the Puritans. Centered first on a sin committed by Hester Prynne and her secret lover before the story ever begins the novel details how sin affects the lives of the people involved. For Hester, the sin forces her into isolation from society and even from herself.

Of the three main characters affected, Hester has the easiest time because her sin is out in the open. Arthur Dimmesdale has the hardest time dealing with it because his sin is hidden to the outside world. Roger Chillingworth is the most affected by the sin, though he was not around when the sin took place. These characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth have all committed a sin, but the way it affects their lives is very different. Hester was left alone by her husband, Chillingworth, for more then two years.

She unwisely committed adultery with Dimmesdale and gave birth to a baby girl named Pearl. She confesses her sin in front of everyone and wears the scarlet letter as her punishment. Pearl and the scarlet letter are both daily reminders of her sin, and keep her from falling in to the devil’s hands again. She uses her sin to grow stronger and become a better person. She tells the magistrates, “This badge has taught me- it daily teaches me…”(Hawthorne 102). With her sin being out in the open, it changes her for the better because she acknowledges her mistake, she learns from it, and she can move on.

Many people from her town go to her for advice, and to talk of their problems with her. “Such helpfulness was found in her- so much power to do and power to sympathize- that many people refused to interpret the scarlet ‘A’ by it’s original signification. They said that it meant ‘Able’; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a women’s strength” (The Scarlet Letter). Dimmesdale has the hardest time with his sin because he does not admit it to everyone. It haunts him every day when he sees Pearl and Hester.

He lies about it in order to seem holy in the eyes of the congregation. He is very weak and unable to speak the truth, although he pleads for Hester to speak for him when he says, “…I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on they pedestal of shame, yet better it were so, than to hide a guilty heart through life” (63).

She could not speak, and neither could he. Through the seven years that he kept his sin a secret, he grew very ill and they knew it was more of an illness to the soul then to the body. He tortured himself by whipping his own back. Every day he went up the stairs to give a sermon, he would try to speak of his sin, but everyday he walked backed down those stairs without doing it. He cannot justify his sin, even on the grounds of his love for Hester. Finally he admits his guilt, right before he dies on the scaffold.

Chillingworth is the worst sinner of all because he violates the sanctity of the human heart. He pretends to be Dimmesdale’s friend while he is actually probing his heart. Although at the beginning he is a good, kind, intelligent man, his real personality is engulfed by the revenge he wants for Dimmesdale. He holds no grudge against Hester or Pearl, but he wants to ruin Dimmesdale’s life by torturing him with the sin he is hiding. Demented by his thoughts of revenge and hate, Chillingworth is shown to be a devil by not being truthful to himself and others.

Finally, for all the characters, Hawthorne’s novel illustrates how one sin can escalate to encompass one’s self so that the true humans behind the sin are lost. This is what makes Hawthorne’s novel not only a story of love vs. hate, sin vs. purity, good vs. evil, but all of these combined to make a strikingly historical tragedy as well. The Scarlet Letter is one of the few books that will be timeless because it deals with alienation, sin, punishment, and guilt; emotions that will continue to be felt by every generation to come.

The Scarlet Letter Symbolism

Symbolism at it’s best is limitless in conveying a feeling, mood, or atmoshphere that words alone can not define. It can trigger emotion, persuade the reader to question everything they know thus far, or inflict thoughts that, in the most twisted sense of the story, would seem barely justified. Symboloism reaches out to the reader in numerous ways, but no matter what the effect, it’s almost always starts as something subconscious. In Nathanial Hawthorn’s novel, ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ there is an immense ammount of symbolism; the structure and flow of progression are both held back by this element.

The subtle way Hawthorn uses this is incredible; he takes us to such a place where everything and everyone is suspect and subject to thorough examination, as things are not always what they seem. Other times, however, they are in fact exactly what they seem; usually too little too late. By the time the truth is laid outright, the truth had already been known; symbolism is subconscious. At times when there is no truth to be uncovered, it is the world created by this world of various entities, in a matter of symbol, that lies dormant in the back of the readers head.

Being fully and inescapably aware though, from a place deep inside, of the uncertanties and illusions that are not being focused on, instead only hinted at. The mind’s eye is where symbolism wraps it’s ugly tentacles of doubt and discretion, whether realized by the reader or not. ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ demonstrates this characteristic impecibly. The scaffold where Hester stands in front of the public is symbolic of penitence and God’s judgement. Dimmesdale on the other hand, can not bring himself to stand on the platform and confess his sins, because of it’s comparison to judgement day.

The first time he brings himself to stand upon the scaffold, seeking relief from his secret sin is under the cover of night, as if he could hide his sin from the people, or even God. In the end Dimmesdale does stand on the scaffold in the light of day to public confess his sins. This took courage, as the platform represented weakness in the eyes of God. Across from the prison Hester was sentenced to there is a rose bush; the single beautiful thing in a world of sin and shame. In the book when Pearl was asked where she came from, she states that she was plucked from the rosebush.

The recurring theme of the rosebush is representative of salvation. To those in prison it is a symbol of hope, but when Pearl says that she is the rosebush, it’s symbolic in that only the only hope Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth have for salvation can be found in her. The roses, and Pearl, are symbolic of a light in the midst of the darkness of Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin. At the climax of the story, Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale meet in the forrest, seeking resolution and retribution.

The forrest is symbolic of the light and darkness in nature. The evasive darkness represents the gloom and unhappiness that is Hester’s life. Rays of sunshine fall on Pearl, but Hester is kept in the dark, which is symbolic of Hester’s inability to find peace, or even a dull ache of warmth in her life. This darkness is dispelled when Dimmesdale reaches the forrest, and they make plans to flee from Boston together. To represent her new freedom, Hester throws away the scarlet letter and lets her hair down.

Simultaniously, the forrest is illuminated by sunshine to flood out the darkness. In ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ symbolism is used to maintain ambiguity; the reader is free to feel and assume and reach their own conclusion. The intricities and interweavings of these symbols and themes is astounding; reaching no certain conclusion they are all left open for interpretation. The representative elements of this story are where it gains it’s depth. Possibilities are endless in this masterpiece orchestrated by Mr. Hawtorn.