"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorn

Essay by uncle-rico4ever June 2007

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According to John Milton, “The mind is its own plan, and in itself, can make Heaven of Hell, and Hell of Heaven.” In other words, you can’t enjoy the best of situations if your conscience is hurting; and you will hardly notice the worst of situations if you have hope strong enough to keep your thoughts positive. The story The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorn shows the truth of this quotation by his use of setting and conflict.

"The Scarlet Letter" was set in Massachusetts in the 1600’s. A woman named Hester Prynne wore the scarlet letter “A” for committing adultery. For her lover, nobody knew, bore the secret pain that was hidden inside his conscience and in his heart. Dimmesdale was a minister of the church in Massachusetts. He was characterized as the holiest person to ever walk the earth. For the anguish that was concealed in his heart was some thing he could not deprive of.

Both Dimmesdale and Hester knew pain, but they both experienced it in diverse ways.

Dimmesdale had respect, power, and a good name, but his mind wouldn’t let him enjoy a moment of it because he was constantly at war with himself. Because nobody knew about him for liability for adultery, he felt as if he wasn’t forgiven and had to punish himself for the wrong he did. He wiped himself constantly and tried to pronounce to his congregation the detestable blunder he committed. Even though he was in the best of situations, having respect from the community, it was like existing in a nightmare because he couldn’t stand living a hypocritical life.

Hester Prynne was the exactly the opposite. She was looked upon like the eyesore of the town. People treated her differently; they never wanted to stand to close to her,