The Effects of Sin in the Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne

Essay by StanCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 1997

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

Sin is the main theme in the Scarlet Letter. All of the characters in the book

were somehow affected by the main sin, which was adultery. The three main

characters were the most widely affected, and their whole lives were molded by the

way they dealt with the sin. The sin surrounds, encloses, and strangles them.

There was no escaping from its harsh consequences.

Hester Prynne's sin was as an adulteress, and the result of this was that she

had to wear the scarlet letter 'A.' She feels that her sin has taken away everything

she had, and given her one thing in return; her baby. Although she had dignity and

pride when she first stepped out of the prison and when she stood upon the scaffold

this 'A' unfamilarized and seperated her from the community, and she stood alone

with her child as she does for the most part of her life following this event.


then on, she was to live away from the community with her baby, Pearl, and was

shunned by everyone. The sin she has committed has made her think that death

would be an easy way out and that she deserves little, for she says, 'I have thought

of death, have wished for it, would have even prayed for it, were it fit that such as I

should pray for anything.' Throughout the next years, the sin Hester committed

changes her personality and identity. Once a beautiful woman, Hester now looks

plain and drab. Once passionate, she is now somber and serious. She had

contained a precious quality of womanhood that has now faded away. Her plain

gray clothes symbolize her temperament and disposition. There are also good

effects that the sin has on her. She becomes more giving and caring, and is...