Differences In A Homogeneous Community In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Differences in a homogeneous community are attacked and punished because the community sees these differences as something to look down upon and destroy before it spreads like some disease. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, differences in a homogeneous community being squandered by fear are portrayed through a woman named Hester Prynne, who is believed to have sinned against her religion, homogeneous community. Her sin, committing adultery, is her difference the people are so afraid of her “difference”, that she is punished by the entire Puritan society. This behavior is frowned upon in the society because of how strictly they live by their religious values. Some believe that she should be killed while others believe she should …show more content…
Hester will have to live the rest of her life with the feeling of guilt and shame because of the symbol forever resting upon her bosom. This community wants to use her as an example or a reminder of what happens when one deviates from the rigid social structure or commits a sin. The Puritans feel threatened by Hester’s sin because they are afraid that others might follow her example, possibly changing the very foundation of their religious beliefs and daily life. The Puritans feel as though Hester’ sin will not only affect her, but will also affect their way of life because they are so dependent on religion. When Hester’s punishment was to be determined, a townsman shouted his hatred of her sins by saying, “Mistress Hester Prynne, and her evil doings. She hath raised a great scandal, I promise you, in godly Master Dimmesdale’s church” (Hawthorne, 58). At the time, religion and the church were what the community based their daily lives on. The church controls and sets the standards for the Puritan community. This scandal that Hester has raised has angered the people because they believe that it goes against their God and religion. The Puritans feel that her sin may have affected their community, thinking that they will …show more content…
The forest represents the fear of the Puritan society: a place where darkness and disorder exists and a place where people like Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale can be their true selves or even hide more secrets. Hester describes the forest as “black and dense” with “imperfect glimpses of the sky” yet, she also describes it as the “moral wilderness in which she had so long been wandering” (170). She talks about how “overhead was a gray expanse of cloud, slightly stirred, however, by a breeze; so that a gleam of flickering sunshine might now and then be seen at it’s solitary play”, inferring that it is a dark and scary place from the outside but has many benefits to others like her (170). The forest represents the Puritans fear (the unknown) and that is what it means to them, but to people like Hester and Dimmesdale, it is a place of hope and represents who they secretly are. They can only be themselves outside of the society, which gives them a closer connection to nature. When Hawthorne uses light and dark to describe the forest, he is trying to show how darkness is too keep unwanted things by the Puritan society hidden. That is why, for Hester and Dimmesdale, it is light; hope to be who you really want to be or what you want to

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