Personal And Public Truth In The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Essay on Personal and Public Truths The Scarlet Letter was written in the 1850’s by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a custom house worker. Hawthorne wrote this historical fiction novel after he was fired from his job due to political reasons. He wrote this story to portray the story of a woman named Hester Prynne as he found some documents on her at the custom house before his departure. This novel includes fictional and non-fictional characters to add to historical background and to make the reader believe that the novel is a work of non-fiction. Hawthorne expresses the theme of personal and public truth through the characters of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Hester Prynne’s character was written unlike…show more content…
His character is portrayed as a man whose health is rapidly declining due to his guilt of keeping his affair with Hester a secret for seven years. Dimmesdale deals with his guilt by beating and burning himself and by making a trip to the scaffold in the darkness of night. It is on this trip that Hester, and her daughter Pearl, who is also Dimmesdale’s daughter, were passing by on the way from deceased Governor Winthrop’s house. The reverend sees them and calls Hester and Pearl to the scaffold with him, where the trio will unite for the first time. This act was meant to lessen Dimmesdale’s guilt but instead it worsened it. This fact, along with his guilt of being hypocritical, leads him to habitually covering his heart, where he should be adorned with a scarlet letter as well. When Dimmesdale is questioned by young Pearl “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide” (2214) he responds no, because he will not confess his sin in the light of day before everyone. Dimmesdale’s guilt consumes him because “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true”(3125). This ultimately leads to his confession in the third and final scaffold scene, in which he recognizes his sin and Pearl as his daughter before

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