Lessons Learned from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Lessons Learned from The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered by many to be a classic novel. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne provides his audience with a real sense of the consequences of unconfessed sin, isolation from society, and the presence of evil everywhere. Through his portrayal of the main characters, his choice of setting, and his implied moral lessons, he teaches lessons that must be learned for humans to continue living in harmony with one another.

The setting of The Scarlet Letter provides a powerful connection between fact and fiction. Events such as the Salem witch trials, which occurred not long after the events of The Scarlet Letter, establish credibility
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Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses allegorical characters and situations in order to impress more firmly his themes upon his audience. One theme is that sin must be confessed or it will grow and fester like a disease and will eventually consume the sinner from the inside, out. This theme is expanded upon throughout The Scarlet Letter, and especially during the events leading up to the second scaffold scene. Dimmesdale "kept vigils...sometimes viewing his own face in a looking glass...tortured" (Hawthorne 152). His visions of an unforgiving god and of what that god will do to him because of his sin drive him to a near-insane state of being. He fails to overcome his overwhelming guilt by confessing to his congregation, driving him even closer to the edge of his sanity and health. His sin eventually kills him. One must wonder, if he had only stood with Hester on the scaffold at the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, would he have died at the final scaffold scene? The theme of confession one that affects all people everywhere.

Another theme in The Scarlet Letter is that evil exists in all things. One prime example is the way Pearl behaves. Even with Hester's attempts to discipline her daughter, Pearl inevitably disobeys. The townspeople of Salem believe that Pearl has the devil in her because she was conceived in sin and that her misbehavior continues for the seven-year-span of

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