Isolation In Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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In Chapter 18 of his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne utilizes characterization, imagery, and organization to devise a juxtaposition of the origins and effects of sin amongst the protagonist, Hester Prynne, a humiliated, yet dignified woman who learns to cope with the effects of adultery in a relatively repressive society, and Arthur Dimmesdale, a previously renowned individual who futilely endures the prolonged deterioration of his emotional and physical spirit. Similar to that of a nomadic Indian, Hester’s physical isolation from society functions to emancipate her from the oppressive ideals of Puritan life. Like she would in a “vast or untamed forest,” Hester meanders through her complex moral wilderness, at liberty from rule or guidance.…show more content…
Although the scarlet letter beleaguers Hester with guilt, despair, and solitude, it functions as a stern educator that eventually allows her to morally succeed her companions and personify the virtues of human nature. Hawthorne alludes to this earlier in the novel by bestowing upon Hester the supernatural ability to discern the flaws of Puritan culture and condemn those who impose it. Since committing adultery years earlier, Hester learns that perfection cannot exist, for all humans are marked by sin. Because of her enlightenment, the scarlet symbol that adorns Hester’s chest transmutes to symbolize wisdom and generosity, rather than

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