Conformity Within The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1258 Words Nov 27th, 2015 6 Pages
Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores themes of conformity through Hester Prynne´s various relationships. Hawthorne illustrates three relationships in which Hester can frequently be seen both conforming to and rejecting societal expectations regarding how a woman should act, and for different purposes. As is demonstrated throughout the novel, Hester will -by nature- resist norms and expectations, but can be seen conforming when doing so will ultimately benefit her. Hester frequently conforms by means of appeasing someone of a higher power, to create a bridge of trust between them. As is reflected in her relationships with the Puritan church, Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester only conforms to expectations when it is to her benefit. Though the relationships hold different dynamics, within each there is a degree of Hester´s conformity for appeasement. Through Hester choosing to both conform to and reject societal norms, she creates relationships based upon appeasement.
Despite her committing adultery, Hester continues to support and practice religion under Puritan beliefs. She embodies both typical notions of Puritan womanhood as well as lives a life that strays greatly from what is expected of her. In itself, committing adultery is considered sin of a high degree, and Hester’s subsequent “badge of shame”, the scarlet letter, was to forever remind her of her misguided actions (98). The scarlet letter was not to celebrate adultery, but…

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