Theme Of Forgiveness In The Scarlet Letter

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Sin and forgiveness go hand in hand, even if they mean completely different things. The combination of the two themes can be seen throughout many different stories and novels in history. This is the case in the classic novel The Scarlet Letter. A sin by the main character, Hester Pryne, pushes for Hester to now deal with the consequences of her actions. She, being a devout Puritan wishes the townspeople and God to forgive her and not to send her to hell. Hester’s effort to continue working and living her life despite the entire town being against her shows her strength in the face of adversaries, and her ability to forgive those who could not forgive her. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the themes of sin and forgiveness are prevalent …show more content…
The author uses many literary features to explain the two themes, but one key used in particular abundance is symbolism. Hawthorne’s story is seen as possibly a, ““sweet moral blossom” or The Scarlet Letter is this good grows out of evil.” (Austin 2). The scarlet letter that is used throughout the story is a symbol of multiple ideas. To the townspeople, the symbol is one of adultery, showing what Hester did to deserve her practical banishment from the town. To the readers, the scarlet letter is a symbol of the sins of society, and that Hester is a scapegoat for the sins of all of the people that lived in the town. Despite everyone in the town most likely having sinned at some point or another, Hester is the one that gets caught in her sin, and is thus punished severely for it. Hawthorne also uses the symbol of a rosebush, seen in the initial chapters of the story before Hester leaves the jail. The different colors used in the rosebush, such as “the black is in contrast with the implied, but unstated, red of the rosebush next to the prison doors.” (Austin 3). The different colors shows symbols similar to that of ying and yang. The idea that good and evil live in a world simultaneously is emphasized with the rosebush example early in the story. Many readers of the story can easily point out how this idea that Hawthorne promotes is prevalent in the story. This rosebush example explains what many people see in the story, such as how, “the narrator… seems to insist that love and nature are inseparable values, that morality has nothing to say to them.” (Donoghue 2). Hawthorne was a believer in the philosophy that all people have the ability to become either good or evil, and that one’s personal decisions, just as Hester’s personal decisions, would determine whether that person would end up becoming one who benefits society or one who costs society in the long run. Hester

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