The theme of defiance.

Essay by juiceboxpimpHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2003

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The theme that I choose to explore and relate to from Scarlet letter is Defiance. I feel that this is a principle theme throughout this novel. There are many characters who embody this idea and work it into their characters. The puritanical society is one of compliance and piety. The mass opinions of the community and the power of the magistrates is exercised in order to try to keep people in their place and to make them behave in a way that is complacent to "God's wishes."

Look at the many examples of defiance we are given by Hawthorne. Rose embodies the very essence of defiance. She was conceived and borne out of shame, shame over one who has acted against the ways of the community. She runs wild and defies social law and order. She says what she is thinking and we have an excellent example when she is in the governor's mansion and he asks her where she came from.

He knows the answer that he wants to hear and she knows what she ought to say but she goes against all this and says proudly "a rosebush."

Again, in Hester we see defiance. She is supposed to wear this letter in shame. It is supposed to be the weight of the world and the eyes of the community upon her chest and it shall scar her. Instead of making the letter very tiny and inconspicuous however, she boldly decorates it and wears it, not so much with pride, but more without regret. She defies the magistrates in that she doesn't allow their punishment to break her. She is not bold in that she flaunts her sin, she just seems to say that this is not going to break her spirit and she will not allow...