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Scarlet Letter Essay, Research Paper

The right and wrong of our life are determined by the moral rules of our cruel society. The author, Nathanel Hawthorne expresses this idea in one of his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter. Born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts; he lived with his widowed mother and two younger sisters, Maria Louisa and Elizabeth. He had the must pleasant and normal boyhood, but for the next 12 year he was absorbed by unhappiness and self-doubt as he tries to master the skill of writing. In 1837 he published Twice-Told Tales and obtained a steady income. Then he published The Scarlet Letter, and it brought him immediate recognition. The Scarlet Letter is a book that criticized the Puritan society of the era. The story told is about a woman named Hester Prynne who committed adultery with Arthur Dimmesdale in an unforgiving place. Hester was force by the church to wear the letter A on her for the rest of her life as a reminder to the town-people of her immoral act. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth discovered that she had committed the immoral act with Dimmesdale. Then he sets himself ready for revenge because of the constant fighting between Dimmesdale and Chillingworth; they both eventually died. After their death Hester took her daughter, Pearl back to English. Hawthorne depicts the triumph of one women s strength over the powerful Puritan church, a revengeful husband, and her personal feeling of guilt and remorse. Overcoming these obstacles was not a sudden. It took her seven years to first overcome her personal feeling, then the Puritan church and eventually her husband.

Hester s appreciation of her scarlet letter and sense of pride helped her overcome her personal feeling. Her hard work and effort made her scarlet letter stand for another meaning. She willingly helped other and at the same time she helped herself by gaining herself more respect. Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and power to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able ; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a women s strength. (p.156) Hester doesn t reject the scarlet letter anymore. It has now become part of her, part of her personal feeling and a symbol of love. It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off this badge, were I worthy to be quit of it ,it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport. (p. 163) Hester s scarlet letter not only represented a symbol of honor, but also a symbol from heaven. But did your reverence hear of the portent that was seen last night?-a great red letter in the sky-the letter A which we interpret to stand for Angel. (p.153) The personal feeling of Hester didn t allow to be able to express herself freely.

The Puritan church is the Puritan government, people have to obey and live by the ways of the church. Hester is one of the persons that challenged the church. The church has great power over Hester, and she has to do want ever the church tells her. Hester had to stand on the scaffold as the church told her so, With almost a serene deportment, therefore, Hester Prynne though his portion of her ordeal, and came to a sort of scaffold, at the western extremity of the market place. (p.62) Hester kept herself away from the Puritan church, and it was her first step to overcome it. Little accustomed in her long seclusion from society, to measure her ideas of right and wrong by any standard external to herself, Hester saw-or seemed to see-that there lay a responsibility upon reference to the clergyman which she owed to no other, nor to the whole world besides. (p.154) Hester was out of the church s reach. Eventually Hester overcame the church by first overcoming the scarlet letter put on her. The scarlet letter had not done its office. (p.160) Now Hester has to overcome another fear that is her husband.

Her love for Dimmesdale gave Hester the power to overcome the fear that she had toward Chillingworth, But that change didn t happen in an instant. At first Hester obeyed Chillingworth even though she didn t want to. Hester kept Chillingworth s identity a secret because of her fear, I will keep thy secret, as I have his, swear it. (p.81) Seeing Dimmesdale suffer, Hester tries to comfort him, but it was useless. Then she asked Chillingworth the permission tell the truth. I would speak a word you, a word that concern us much. (p. 162) Chillingworth didn t allow her to tell the truth, but she didn t care because she needed to help Dimmesdale. I must reveal the secret, (p.166) Now Hester has finally overcame all her fears in which she go the strength from love.

Hester s strength over the harmful human society can be seen on how she overcomes the church, revengeful husband, and personal feeling. That strength of an individual can be greater than what is believe to be. We human live based on a moral rule, such way of living can cause destruction in our society. Our lives should be based on our human nature and our conscience. We should do what we think is right not what the society thinks. Living our lives based on our conscience will make us live a more fulfilling life.


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