Punishment Of Hester Prynne In The Scarlett Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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1. Public humiliation deters “inappropriate” behavior and is a suitable form of punishment; however, public humiliation should not be used during a person’s formative years. Gossip spreads like wildfire, as exemplified in chapter 2 on page 45, as five women are gossiping about the punishment of Hester Prynne: “At the very least, they should put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead.” A man that these five gossips do not know even throws in his two cents on her punishment. With Hester wearing a mark as noticeable as a bright scarlet “A” on her chest, every townsperson is bound to notice it and talk about it with his or her friends. When Hester is being paraded through the town, it was “as if her heart had been flung into the street for them all to spurn and trample upon (p. 48).” This further deters anyone from even thinking of committing an act that perpetrator has committed, for no one will want to suffer the…show more content…
We are asked to make our judgments through Hester, Dimmesdale. We are shown inside the minds of Hester and Dimmesdale. We are painted a picture of Hester sitting in solitude for two years awaiting the return of husband, husband who she assumed to be dead and Hawthorne forces us to ask ourselves, “Would I wait alone forever for my spouse to return?” Also, we are thrust inside the guilt-ridden mind of Dimmesdale. In chapter 11, Dimmesdale is shown repenting for his sins by beating and starving himself. “He kept vigils, likewise, night after night (p. 130).” Dimmesdale mentally and physically destroyed himself every night with his guilt of adultery. Hawthorne forces the reader to ask, “What would I have done if I, a symbol of purity, had committed a sin?” The reader is not judging through the perspective of Chillingworth because Hawthorne paints Chillingworth as an evil man only seeking revenge rather than let the reader question the intentions of Chillingworth except until the very end, when it is revealed he left a fortune to

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