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Social Ostracization In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel that delves into the effects of social ostracization. The main character Hester Prynne is unable to be accepted into society because she has been labelled as an adulteress. The townspeople’s inability to forgive Hester because of their devout religious beliefs only adds to her feelings of guilt and embarrassment. The judgement passed on Hester contributes to the overarching theme that people who believe themselves to be righteous are usually unjustified in their vendetta and are equally immoral ,if not more so, than the person they believe is in the wrong.
The cruelty Hester faces is the driving force behind her actions. The scarlet “A” that Hester is forced to wear hardens her resolve against the community that has rejected her. Instead of moving away after her secret is revealed Hester decides to stay in spite of the adversity she will face. Initially, she stays because she believes her salvation can only be obtained in the place where she committed the wrongdoing (Hawthorne, 71). Despite the townspeople talking about her and mocking her, Hester tries her best to eke out a life for herself and her daughter Pearl. The …show more content…
Ironically, it was often their religious justification that led them to stray from the true teachings of their faith. Protestants do not believe in the sacrament of confession. Therefore, they believe that there is no need for an emissary on earth to forgive people of their sins. As a result, it is understood that only God may judge or forgive a sinner. The judgement passed by the townspeople reveals that they will twist and warp their religion to fit their own agenda. This is evidenced by the magistrate wanting to take Pearl away from Hester on the grounds that Pearl may be a demon child. Evidently, the decision to remove the child from Hester is one born out of spite because there is no factual evidence to support

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