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Essay about Torment and Suffering in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is one of the most famous American author of all American literaturary history. The novel is treated as one of the greatest novel in American literary history. In the sotry, Hester, the main character of the novel, is condemned to wear the scarlet letter "A" on her chest as a permanent sign of her sin. The author describes torment suffered by Hester and her partner of the adultery, the minister Arthur Dimmesdale in the later years. The story begins at the end of Hester's imprisonment after her affair and through many years to her final acceptance of her place in the community as the wearer of the scarlet letter a symbol of shame. Throughout the story, the letter ‘A’ embodied on Hester’s chest receives different meanings and symbols.
In the start of the novel the letter ‘A’ on Hester’s chest is taken as label of sin, the sin of adultery, as shown by Nina Baym from her Themes in the Scarlet Letter “When they required her to wear a red A, the Puritans assumed that it had one fixed meaning—adultery.”(Nina Baym). As for the punishment of her sin the puritan society rejected her and she was not treated as a normal person afterwards, instead the puritan society saw her as symbol of shame, sin and something to blame on. The puritan society punished her by making her stand on the scaffold for three hours while holding her infant, “She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself that the infant and the shame was real.”(pg50). But later on the real meaning of the letter gets altered.
Later on in the story the letter is viewed differently by the puritan society, The ...


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...ey saw the letter 'A' on Arthur Dimmesdale's chest “Most of the spectators testified to having seen, on the breast of the unhappy minister, a Scarlet letter-the very semblance of that worn by Hester Prynne-imprinted in the flesh.”(pg201), and some people suggested an idea that Roger Chillingworth the one who has made thisd mysterious letter show up on Dimmesdale's chest “Others contended that the stigma had not been produced until a long time subsequent, when old Roger Chillingworth, being a potent necromancer, had caused it to appear, through the agency of magic and poisonous drugs.” but strangely there were group of people who testified that they have seen nothing on his chest, “who were spectators of the whole scene, and professed never once to have removed their eyes from the Reverend Mr.Dimmesdale, denied that there was any mark whatever on his breast.”(pg211).


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