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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a compelling novel in which a woman is scorned for life because she committed adultery. She was punished by having to wear a scarlet “A” m her chest. However Hester was not the only one who sinned, there were two others. All three in which were impacted by their respective sins. Some could be deemed worse than others but all sinned and all were impacted by it.

Hester Prynne is the most obvious sinner in the novel. She also was extremely impacted by her sin and was punished ruthlessly. Hester’s sentence was that she had to stand on a platform, with the baby in hand, “for three hours” (Hawthorne 53), The preacher Dimmesdale also made her wear “The scarlet letter on her chest”( Hawthorne 72), for the rest of her life. Hester from that point on be recognized by the scarlet “A” that she was forced to wear. It was a form of embarrassment and mockery that she had to endure wherever she went. However, her greatest gift was also her largest punishment. Hester’s daughter pearl was “her happiness, her torture none the less” (Hawthorne 103). Pearl was a blessing in disguise. She was a handful but she also kept Hester alive.

Chillingworth’s sin was revenge. He waited seven years to avenge the wrongdoings to Hester. When he was making Dimmesdale sicker than he was he had become a “fiend for his especial torment” (Hawthorne 153). Chillingworth hs a façade of being nice and heloful to the minister while he is sick but is really a “ quiet depth of malice” (Hawthorne 153). Chillingworth was extremely deceitful in his plan to bring justice to Hester. He physiologically tortures the minister to extreme sickness. Chillingworth could have had Dimmesdale turned in anytime he wanted but he wanted him “hurled from his pulpit into a dungeon” (Hawthorne 136). Chillingworth took more satisfaction torturing the minister and handling it his way than having the proper justice served.

Dimmesdale’s sin was being a hypocrite. He stood on his pulpit and preached about sin all while sinning himself. He also punished Hester for something he did himself. He was afraid that the people would “ tear him down from the pulpit which he defiled” ( Hawthorne 134). Towards the end he did feel guilty about what he had done. He was made sick because of his “Heaven Defying guilt and vain repentance” (Hawthorne 199). His sin did not only impact himself but impacted three others as well. Once something is done it cannot be undone. There will always be a “Ruined wall left behind” (Hawthorne 184).

The Scarlet Letter is a novel about three sinners. All who sinned differently and all were impacted differently by their sins. However all three sins correlate with each other. Hester was impacted by a life of embarrassment. Chillingworth was impacted by turning into a monster. Reverend Dimmesdale was impacted by becoming extremely sick. All sinned and all were impacted and punished in their own way.




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