The Scarlet Letter: Themes Alive Today

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Mike Esposito
Mrs. Forstrom
American Literature – 1
7 November 2012
The Themes Are Still Alive Today
Ah The Scarlet Letter, whether we like it or not, it is now a book we have all read and have most likely come to hate. Whether it be because of the old setting in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony in Boston that we cannot relate to or the old English language in which it is written, Nathaniel Hawthorne just failed to create a novel that most teenagers of the early twenty-first century can enjoy and appreciate. It must be pointed out that first, it’s doubtful he cares, and more importantly that this just simply should not be the case. We juniors should pay more attention to the novel, especially with the thought that the messages Hawthorne tries to convey are still relevant today. Think about it. With all of the experiences of Hester Prynne and other characters in the novel, we interpret concepts that are still correlated with those of today. In Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter, two crucial themes of sin and what it can do to people and the different degrees of evil directly relate to today’s society and modern ideas.

As it is known, Hester committed a sin in the novel with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale that the Puritans in her society thought to be one of the worst that could ever be committed: adultery. They conceived a child together, their daughter Pearl, which is a sin that takes a toll on both characters in many different ways. Beginning with Hester, the protagonist, the sin is something that identifies her, and she becomes one with it. At the beginning of the novel, you should recall that she has to take her first punishment of being humiliated on the scaffold and ridiculed by many people of the community while wearing the letter “A” on her chest to indicate that she committed adultery. But she does not just stick any regular printed letter on her. She goes beyond, as Hawthorne describes, “But the point which drew all eyes and, as it were,...
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