The Puritan world is the setting. In their isolated world, the Puritans share the belief that acts such as adultery are the greatest sins. The revolutionary writer, Hawthorne, penetrates this world to expose Puritan hypocrisy and, through Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl, shows that concealment is the greater sin. Through them, Hawthorne teaches the lesson that concealed guilt will gradually drain its bearer of all strength and power, whereas honesty will have an empowering effect.
The main characters, Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale display varying degrees of concealment. Dimmesdale is at one extreme; he is the embodiment of concealment. Pearl is at the other extreme, playfully innocent and transparent. Hester is partially exposedalthough she reveals her sin for everyone to see through the scarlet letter and she allows the dark and serious mannerisms of Puritanical society to conceal her natural bright and joyous personality.
The first vivid contrast between colors is in the early prison scene. Hawthorne creates a bleak setting with "A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeplecrowned hats" and a dark prison with a "beetle-browed and gloomy front" which was further shadowed by... [continues]
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