"Isolation experienced in the Scarlet Letter"

Essay by LilChu22High School, 10th gradeA+, December 2003

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"Isolation experienced in the Scarlet Letter"

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This essay describes how the theme "isolation" is experienced by Hester, Pearle, and Dimmesdale

What do you think about when you hear The Scarlet Letter? Many strong emotions are probably stirring up in your mind. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of this superb novel, incorporated multiple well-known themes. The ones he used were very important, but the one that stood out the most was isolation. Many characters throughout the story, such as Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale experienced isolation, the consequence of sin. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the theme with the greatest amount of emotional meaning and importance is isolation.

Hester Prynne, the scarlet letter bearer who committed adultery, is the protagonist that experiences isolation the most throughout the novel. As the consequence of her sin, she is separated from her community and from her family. Hester is kept isolated from her community in many ways.

First of all, when she is on the scaffold, she is casted away from the rest of the townspeople. "... she ascended a flight of wooden steps, and was thus displayed to the surrounding multitude, at about the height of a man's shoulders about the street." (51) Another example is when she walks around the town displaying her scarlet letter, and being shunned by the people, especially the other women (nobody else knows what that feels like, having to wear the letter "A"). Mrs. Prynne is also separated from the rest of society (including the elders, women and children) when she is released from prison, and moves into a small cottage "on the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation." (75) Hester is also isolated from her own family.