Ostracized Hester Prynne In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1006 Words 5 Pages
Often times, society tends to focus on the actions of an individual rather than analyzing the external factors that may have influenced that individual. Examples of this can be shown throughout generations of those ostracized by their peers. Furthermore, blaming of this sort has been distinguished since the first societies. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Puritan community nearly crumbles under the weight their harsh rules. The novel focuses on the exclusion of a woman guilty of committing adultery. Through The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne portrays that it is simply easier to utilize a single person or concept as a scapegoat for a multitude of issues rather than to reflect on society’s actions as a whole. Expressed through …show more content…
The Puritan society in The Scarlet Letter was a self-righteous and overtly religious community which unjustly ostracized Hester because of her crime. This can be seen as the old Puritan women discuss effective ways to punish Hester. One mentions that “they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead” (49). Contradicting basic Christian beliefs of kindness and compassion, the woman seemed to be greatly overcome with discontempt against Hester, resulting in her harsh words and ideas about extreme punishment. Because she was solely fixed on the controversial crime, the Puritan woman could not notice and identify her own unethical actions and words. In another instance, Hester turns to charity work as an effective way to spend her earnings as a seamstress. “Hester bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable on herself, and who not infrequently insulted the hand that fed them” (77). Quite literally, although those who were less fortunate were being fed by Hester through her good deeds, they saw past that and instead criticized her because of her wrongdoing. By doing so, they not only acted with great ingratitude, but they also viewed Hester by her sin rather than her essence. Preoccupied by the misconduct …show more content…
Because of the many restrictions imposed on the Puritan lifestyle, they were susceptible to incriminating another in the fear of making a mistake. This can be seen throughout other communities, including those during contemporary eras. Additionally, the message portrayed by the novel may apply to many, regardless of generation. Although it may seem easier to inculpate a single person or idea, it may be beneficial to all to acknowledge society’s overall shortcomings and work towards improving conditions that ensure fair treatment for each

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