Essay on The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictional work The Scarlet Letter, a young woman named Hester Prynne has been spurned from the Puritan community of Boston for committing the horrid sin of adultery. Hester’s offense labels her both figuratively and literally― not only does all of Boston see Hester as a harlot, but anyone who ever meets her will see her as one because of the beautiful, bright ‘A’ stitched onto all of Hester’s clothing. It is not going to matter who Hester is as a person. All that will matter to anyone she crosses paths with is that she has committed, by the Puritan’s standards, an unforgivable crime. Puritan society says that sinners will be damned to hell no matter what they do, Hester Prynne proves that people are better than their sin and can overcome it.
Puritan culture revolves around the glorification of God. Everything they do is for God and anything done outside the circle of approvement will doom the offender to an afterlife in Hell. Once someone commits one of these sins that is what they are known for. They are no longer themselves: they are what has damned them. No matter who they were as a person before their mistake, no matter what they are after then, it just simply is not going to matter: “‘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,’” (53). Before Hester became pregnant with her child the townsfolk thought nothing of her,…

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