The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter Essay – Amy Campbell - November 2011  Topic A: How are Hester, Dimmesdale, Pearl & Chillingworth redeemed by the end of the novel? (Or, how are they not?)   In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel – ‘The Scarlet Letter’, the four main characters, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, are all involved in and affected by each other’s wrongdoings. Sin and redemption are two central themes in Hawthorne’s work. The sin that initiates this conflict also happens to be ‘original sin’, as Hester cheats on her husband (Chillingworth) with Dimmesdale and has his child. Throughout the story we see how the characters deal with their sins and the sins of others and how this affects their lives. Some characters admit their sins and attempt to redeem themselves, while others go on in denial of their sins or keep them a secret. At the end of the novel, in a dramatic turn of events, the truth is revealed and each of the four characters is redeemed in a specific way.         Hester & Pearl's situation is different from Dimmesdale or Chillingworth's because everyone knows about Hester's sin and the townspeople are reminded of it constantly by the scarlet 'A' she wears, and by Pearl who is living proof of her mother's adultery. Hester seems genuinely sorry for her sin and never stops trying to redeem herself through her actions. She agrees to keep Chillingworth's true identity a secret. As well as this, she protects Dimmesdale by not revealing him as Pearl's father. This shows she's a loyal character and that she wanted to atone for her sins, as keeping these secrets was difficult and painful for her. Hester strives to raise Pearl right and works hard to provide a good life for her. She is helpful to everyone in the town and by the end of the story they respect her and she is finally accepted and viewed as asset- “as Hester Prynne has no selfish ends, nor lived in any measure for her own profit and enjoyment, people...
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