Destructive Mentalities In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Constructive and Destructive Mentalities Committing transgressions is an often unavoidable tendency of mankind. Yet, Puritan society and law in the New World revolved around the importance of following God’s will and maintaining a reputation free of sin. Consequently, failure to follow the strict laws and norms of daily life most often resulted in severe punishments or public infamy. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter juxtaposes the effects of these ramifications and of hiding sin upon one’s life. After Hester commits adultery with Dimmesdale, a minister, whose role in the sin is unbeknownst to the public, the town magistrates force Hester to wear an embroidered “A” on her chest to symbolize her shameful and adulterous behavior. Hester’s …show more content…
During the same time, Dimmesdale suffers from guilt and lack of help. When Hester is defending her rights to keep Pearl, Hester questions why she should be taken away when, “…[Pearl] is the scarlet letter…and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for [her] sin?” (77). Pearl’s symbolism of the scarlet letter indicates the existence a natural, beautiful side to something that was once intended to be only shameful, suggesting that…. Furthermore, as she continues to argue, Hester exclaims that “[Pearl] is [her] happiness!—she is [her] torture, none the less!” (77). Pearl is Hester’s one gift from an otherwise fruitless life and accounts for the majority of her happiness. Pearl’s existence in Hester’s life acts as a guide on her path to normality and happiness by acting as the positive, natural side of the scarlet letter in her life. Adversely, Dimmesdale has not yet lost much through his sin and neglects to see the importance of valuing family. When Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold during his vigil, Pearl questions if he will stand beside Hester and her the following day at noon. *simple* Dimmesdale replies, "Not so, my child. I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother and thee one other day, but not to-morrow!" (105). Dimmesdale’s decision suggests that he is not yet willing to acknowledge them because he will not admit to his sin, …show more content…
During a conversation between Hester and Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, he mentions that the magistrates were discussing whether Hester still should have to wear her “A”. *simple* Hester declares that “Were [she] worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport” (116). By taking responsibility for her sin and working only to benefit others, Hester has transformed its meaning by accepting her sin and herself. This combination has changed what was one seen as “adulterous” into “able”. Furthermore, Hester’s opinion that only God should be able to remove the scarlet letter and not the same people who put it on her in the first place suggests that she fully accepts her mark because she, and all other puritans, look up to God as always being right. Therefore, Hester accepts that it was right to be on her the whole time. *Conclusion sentence*. In opposition, Dimmesdale exhibits no self-acceptance after he sins and suffers by only focusing on hate for years and years. *simple* Dimmesdale describes himself as “…altogether vile, a viler companion of the vilest, the worst of sinners, an abomination, a thing of unimaginable iniquity…” (99). Even though his sin is not of the worst kind, because he performed it out of passion

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