The Effects and Implications of Sin in The Scarlet Letter
Published in 1850, The Scarlet Letter was the first American tragedy. It was written by one of America's greatest writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne. This story deals with problems of secret sin and the guilt of a tortured conscience. Hawthorne uses a fictional symbol and a fictional woman to weave a tale with ageless significance. The Scarlet Letter is a psychological novel, dealing not only with the sin but also the effects of the sin on three main characters: Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth.
Hester is affected by her sin of adultery in many ways. Because of her sin Hester becomes pregnant with a demon child, named Pearl. Hester changes because of her sin. Hester loses her beauty and becomes of marble coldness. Hester is made to wear the scarletletter A all the time. Her clothes become dull in color and her hair is put in a cap.
Hester is an outcast in the town so she lives in a cottage by the sea off to itself. When Hester walks in the streets preachers break out into a sermon. Not only does Hester change but the meaning of the letter also changes. At the beginning of the novel the letter represents the sin that is committed, adultery. As time goes on and the story progresses, the letter begins to mean able because Hester is able to withstand the treatment that everyone gives her. In the word of Nathaniel Hawthorne "Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength." At the end of the novel the letter A fades in color along with meaning. It now is looked at as meaning angel because Hester is like Dimmesdale's angel that saves him from hell on earth. Because Hester has sinned and knows what it...