Perfectionism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Everything in nature is flawed, from the mutations of organisms to the irrational number pi. Humans however have inquired the qualities of perfectionism to pertain to the human condition. In other words, to be identifiable as humane, one must be imperfect and flawed. Therefore perfectionism is impractical and superfluous for it destroys individuality, diversity and triggers impulses. Nevertheless, stubborn humans continue to strive against the laws of nature to reach the impossibility of perfection. In fact many people will rely on extreme anguish and occasional torture to reach an ideal desired image. To abide to this thirstful lust, individuals will sin, or do actions otherwise deemed unworthy and even risk the chance of death to reach the…show more content…
For example individuals like Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, purposely lied, disrespected and masqueraded the vows of marriage to please his congregation and Hester respectively. Dimmsdale yearned to be perceived as perfect to all. “Speak the name of thy fellow sinner...who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself.” (58). When first at the scaffold, Dimmsdale, the hypocrite, spoke wrongly of Hester and her unknown mate to allude to the audience that he had no part in the adultery of Hester Prynne. He had the audience fooled and in his grasp. He was the supposed perfect minister incapable of committing sin. But it was this mock perfection and concealing act that, at the end, devoured Dimmesdale in guilt and imprinted the A on his chest. Dimmsdale lust for perfection was his ultimate…show more content…
As previously noted, perfectionism strips away individuality and character and as a result cause mere drab. For example, in The Scarlet Letter, the aversion of the puritan people towards the “figure of perfect elegance” and the recurring scarlet A establish Hester’s lack of perfection and symbol within the novel. To clarify, Hester was unique and identifiable in the story. She was the woman people were aware of because of her imperfection. Hester was not the stereotypical religious puritan, but a sinner with highlighting scarlet thread. But towards the end of the novel Hester’s once imperfect symbol of imperfection transforms into a symbol of perfection. Over the course of seven years Hester became known as a perfect woman and persevering mother. Later, Hester strips herself of the once imperfect scarlet impression to rid herself of its now perfect representations. Hester was no longer the beautiful woman with an A on her chest but yet another unique and individual woman. Hester may be imperfect but she is perfect in her eyes

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