Constructive And Destructive Mentalities Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

1252 Words Oct 12th, 2015 6 Pages
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 punishment and role as the town outcast distances her from others, both spatially and mentally, enabling her to develop healthy values that ease her progress towards redemption. Oppositely, Dimmesdale’s buried sin impedes him from the redemption that he also seeks, and instead, his guilt eats away at both him and his identity. Overall, their contrasting situations expose each of them to different conditions that ultimately shape Hester constructively and Dimmesdale destructively, illustrating that instead of creating a false identity, one must be forthright and accept his or her sins in order to find happiness, gain redemption, and effectively live a mentally stable life.
Pearl serves as Hester’s one source of happiness throughout…

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