Dishonor In Scarlet Letter

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The scarlet letter is supposed to be a symbol of dishonor; however, Hester Prynne turns the meaning around, and it becomes a symbol to distinguish her. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter shows that one should not flee from sin but should take it on directly. Puritans came to the New World to change the rules; however, committing adultery was not one of them and is still looked at as a terrible sin. Adultery is the sin of being unfaithful and cheating on one’s partner. Even though Hester is looked down on by the Puritans in her town and is considered an outcast, she finds the strength to carry on and to change her way of living to better herself. Because of Hester’s decision to commit adultery, she is deemed as an outcast in her town; …show more content…
As time goes on, Hester believes “God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom . . .” (81-82). Even though she is being accepted back into the society, she thinks she is still being punished by God with her child because her child is a constant reminder of her sin, but she also believes that God is comforting her by giving her a beautiful child. After standing on the scaffold for the first time, Hester uses her time to be “kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, [and] so comfortable to the afflicted” (147). By helping people in need, she gains the respect of the townspeople and gradually becomes one of them again. Aiding the needy also helps Hester to not be an outcast anymore, and the people remember her good deeds instead of her sins. When Hester takes off the scarlet letter in a fit of passion, she feels “the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit” (182). By removing the scarlet letter, Hester symbolizes that she no longer feels resistance because of her adulterous sin. Her goodness towards her society leads the residents of Salem, Massachusetts to respect her again, but even though Hester still is shamed at times, she finds the potency to carry

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