The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1086 Words Nov 23rd, 2015 5 Pages
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s exquisite book The Scarlet Letter one question surrounds the novel. Is exposed sin better than hidden sin or worse? Written in 1850 Hawthorne answers this question in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne’s sin is exposed in the opening of the novel while characters like Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth have concealed their sin. Through the development of the characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth and the events transpire in each of their lives, Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses that concealed sin has negative repercussions while exposed sin is superior at improving the mental and physical state of a sin stricken individual. Hester Prynne’s sin is exposed ever since the opening of the novel. Although bearing through public ridicule and shame, the scarlet letter, symbolic of her sin, transforms into an entirely different interpretation. Hester Prynne had to endure the punishment of public shaming which “she had fortified herself to encounter the sting and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult”(Hawthorne 40). Hester Prynne had to be mentally fortified to endure the shaming of the townspeople. The ridicule and shaming brought despair and anguish into Hester’s life at the beginning. However, as the book progresses towards the middle, the view on Hester starts to alter. The people began viewing the letter on Hester’s bosom “As is apt to be the case when a person stands out in any…

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