Persecution In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Nelson Mandela once said, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” He was an activist in South Africa who fought for the abolition of the Apartheid, the strict and forceful segregation of whites from people of color. Mandela was imprisoned for twenty seven years after he stood up to the government, which was abusing the rights of colored South Africans. His release from prison in 1990 greatly empowered him, and he went on to pave the path to the end of the apartheid. Four years after his release, in 1994, he became the first colored President of South Africa. In the same way Mandela gained popularity through his imprisonment, power obtained through persecution is exemplified in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale, The Scarlet Letter. Punishment ultimately engendered empowerment in the novel. From Hester’s literal…show more content…
After being convicted of adultery when she became impregnated, Hester was sentenced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest, which symbolized “Adulteress” (16). The letter caused her to become an outcast from the society, and she spent most of her days alone with her daughter, Pearl, who was born of her sin. After years of volunteer work and giving back to the community, however, Hester’s “A” was viewed as representing “Able” rather than a constant reminder of her sin (113). The letter also caused her to be identified by a group of sailors and Native Americans as “a personage of high dignity among her people” (200). Hester’s public punishment of wearing the scarlet letter was regarded as a perpetual reminder of her sin. Consequently, the letter distanced her from society, not as a sinner, but as a person of significance. The scarlet letter Hester bore on her bosom grew to symbolize not only her punishment and shame, but also her

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