The Importance Of Adversity In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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There are many situations where adversity will impact someone’s emotional state and their health; these situations can induce advantageous qualities in a person or cause permanent emotional harm. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the major characters all undergo a form of adversity. Throughout the book, Hester Prynne and Pearl constantly endure judgment and condemnation from the Puritan townspeople. Arthur Dimmesdale, unable to confess to his sin with Hester, suffers and has trouble overcoming the guilt that arose from committing the sin. Additionally, Roger Chillingworth discovers that his wife had committed adultery against him. Adversity predominantly affects people negatively and can result in self-harm, depression, and the …show more content…
Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale suffers internally from suppressing his secret. Dimmesdale’s perception of himself changed immensely because of his transgression and directly led to him punishing himself in various forms. “In Mr. Dimmesdale 's secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders, laughing bitterly at himself the while, and smiting so much the more pitilessly because of that bitter laugh. It was his custom, too, as it has been that of many other pious Puritans, to fast—not however, like them, in order to purify the body, and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination—but rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance. He kept vigils, likewise, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness, sometimes with a glimmering lamp, and sometimes, viewing his own face in a looking-glass, by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it. He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify himself.” (Hawthorne, 176). Dimmesdale felt the need to frequently beat himself to repent for his sin, demonstrating how hardships led to intensive self-harm. Additionally, Dimmesdale denied himself any rest and fasted, contributing to the deterioration of his health. He was extremely …show more content…
As exhibited in The Scarlet Letter, dealing with hardships can cause someone to hurt or punish themselves as a way to compensate for committing a transgression. Contrarily, if someone is transgressed against, they could feel the need to reciprocate the pain. In addition, someone may not find a way to recuperate from the adversity and can suffer internally for a long lasting duration. Considering all viewpoints, adversity will produce purely negative effects and undoubtedly cause an agony that will never be

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