Judgement In Each Stage Of Life In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Superior Essays
Judgement in Each Stage of Life
The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1874. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne proves to the reader that within each stage of life, a person is judged by society. Hester Prynne, the main character, is judged and placed in the center of town with a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her chest because of a sin she committed, having a child out of wedlock. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses various characters to explain the effects of judgemental and social pressure
Hester Prynne was in the adult stage of life and society judged her based upon the poor decisions she made. Society increased Hester’s strength through the judgement of her sin. Due to Hester’s sin, “Man had marked this woman’s sin by
…show more content…
Pearl was unlike any of the people around her. Within The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne states that, “Hester could not help questioning, at such moments, whether Pearl were a human child” (Hawthorne 124). Pearl’s very own mother sometimes questioned if she was even a real human. The differences between Pearl and the children her age are that Pearl participates in activities that her peers would not be involved in, and she remained by her mother’s side for most of her life. Pearl is unlike other people within The Scarlet Letter, “Hawthorne’s novel deals with sin, guilt, the nature of evil, and the consequences of failing to conform to community standards” (Bomarito and Whitaker). Pearl fails to blend in with everyone around her, therefore the Bostonian community looks at her …show more content…
Hester remained brave while in the face of judgement, while Pearl was in the face of judgement her whole life it made her wild, and when Dimmesdale faces judgment, he sinks. Dimmesdale fears being judged because he was a priest, “When he learns that the father of Prynne’s child is Arthur Dimmesdale a saintly young minister who is the leader of those pressuring Prynne to name the child’s father, Chillingsworth proceeds to torment the guilt stricken young man” (Britannica np). Dimmesdale lives in fear of being seen in this sin within the public eye. According to Hawthorne, “Else you would surely have heard of Mistress Hester Prynne, and her evil doings. She hath raised a great scandal, I promise you, in godly Master Dimmesdale’s church” (Hawthorne 82). Hester was a member of Minister Dimmesdale’s church, and was shunned from the church and the community; if the congregation knew that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father, he also would no longer be part of the church

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    He kept his sin and guilt hidden from the public, as he is a minister and has to keep that level of respect. Being a minister and committing adultery, he feels that he has majorly disrespected God. He tries to put all of his focus into his work, writing numerous sermons. The public sees that he is sick and think it is because he is working too much, but he’s actually getting weaker due to his sin. He holds his hand on his heart frequently, which could symbolize his sin and his suffering.…

    • 736 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Dimmesdale’s cowardice forces him to retreat more and more from society because he is afraid that the world would see the truth that Pearl was his child and the love he had for Hester in his eyes. However, when he has no other choice but come to Hester’s defense, he does rise to the occasion and defends her right and need to keep her child. Tragically, Dimmesdale’s self loathing will push him to the point where he gives up on life. He simply loses his will to live. Dimmesdale decides that if, “Providence should see fit to remove him, it would be because of his own unworthiness to perform its humblest mission here on earth (Hawthorne 104).…

    • 1554 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In comparison, both men have secrets. Being a Reverend, Dimmesdale’s secret seems to be worse just because he is a Reverend. This secret could destroy his reputation because after he committed adultery he comes to find out that Hester is pregnant with his child. Arthur Dimmesdale has a terrible secret and is frightened to tell anyone since the town holds him in “such high regard” (). After this dilemma he was seen as a “withdrawn” man…

    • 1048 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, John becomes upset at the fact that Elizabeth won’t let it go, he believes this is the single error in his life she is grasping onto to make him feel guilt all of the time. With John afraid to tell the town and the courts of the lies Abigail has told in the trials, he is continue the trials by not speaking the truth. Therefore, with John Proctor and Parris withholding information about…

    • 1736 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He is deathly afraid that his congregation will find out that he is a ‘fraud’, rather than the holy man that they think him to be. He is afraid of the punishment he will receive when the strict Puritans of Boston discover that he hid the fact that he is the father of Hester Prynne’s daughter after seven years had passed. The Reverend had always harbored a nervous temperament; however, after the public shaming of Hester Prynne this characteristic of his personality became much more prominent. He often would put his hand over his heart [unbeknownst to the townspeople that he was touching the Scarlet Letter upon his breast] (Hawthorne 178). Dimmesdale was too frightened by the recourse of his actions to come clean to the people of…

    • 1214 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He continues to be afraid of what society will do it him and worries that if the people he has been preaching to finds out the truth, they will punish him worse than Hester because of his status as the minister. However, at the same time Dimmesdale says, “Else, I should long ago thrown off these garments of mock holiness, and have shown myself to mankind as they will see me at the judgement-day. Happy are you Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom” (Hawthorne 173). Even though he is afraid of what the outcome will become if he confesses, he also would rather be punished than be a minister. He believes that Hester got the easy way out of the situation and believes that he is cursed with the burden of the sin; thus Dimmesdale becomes a hypocrite.…

    • 1801 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Emotional neglect is defined as, “the failure to provide adequate nurturing and affection to a child or the refusal or delay in ensuring that a child receives needed treatment for emotional or behavioral problems” (Emotional Neglect Law and Legal Definition n.p.) Hester’s parenting of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter treads dangerously close that definition. Pearl is an interesting and complex character that seems to be very overlooked. Her supposedly supernatural powers and the way that she is portrayed in the book make many forget that she is just a child, and no one thinks about how she is being affected by the people around her, and especially living in a town that hates her. Pearl’s inner thoughts are never actually revealed, but it is not…

    • 1749 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    On the basis of sin as a betrayal of Puritan society, the scaffold and prison are glorified by the residents; the exaltation of punishment of fellow citizens illustrates the straitlaced nature of the Puritan community. When discussing Hester’s punishment, the Puritan women would like Hester to be punished severely: “‘At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead’” (Hawthorne 53). Mercilessly, some Puritan women favor a stricter punishment: Hester “‘has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die’” (Hawthorne 54). Hester’s sentence ends up as time in prison, wearing the Scarlet Letter, and public punishment on the Scaffold. Upon the Scaffold, Hester stood with her baby, Pearl.…

    • 1186 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    With her mother incapable of punishing her, Pearl runs rampant and refuses to cooperate with society. However, another reason for Pearl’s uncooperative persona could be the fact that she has grown up with only Hester and condemnation surrounding her. “Hester took little Pearl-who was necessarily the companion of all her mother’s expeditions, however inconvenient her presence…” This is both negative and a positive as Hawthorne writes their life…

    • 854 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It really makes you realize that the way society thought about the church being flawless is problematic. Society thinks that hester is still an outcast, and that she is wrong for what she did, and she will never be forgiven for…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays