The Ultimate Salvation

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Kevin Staley
Mrs. Westerside
AP/IB English
The Ultimate Salvation
Take a moment to consider enduring the embarrassment of a whole village’s condemnation. In The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne creates a narrative of a woman who faces this very same condemnation because she committed the heinous act of adultery, and refused to declare the father of her child, Pearl. In accordance to Hester committing this terrible deed, the magistrates of the town rule for her to wear a big letter A on her chest to symbolize the vile sin she has committed. After seven long years, Hester decides to remove the letter A freeing herself from the emotional prison society has put her in. By creating this passage of Hester removing the A, Hawthorne demonstrates the importance of honesty, forgiveness for one’s sins and that acceptance is the only true form of freedom and repentance.

Hawthorne uses Imagery and diction throughout the passage to emphasize the importance of honesty. For example with Hester having removed the A and the “The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit”(199). This shows how she felt free and unburdened by society’s definition of her by finally coming to terms and being honest with herself about what she has done. The use of imagery in this quote really illustrates the importance of honesty by perfectly capturing the emotional intensity of how relieved and free Hester felt by removing the A, which symbolized the sin she had committed. A second example is the “O exquisite relief”(199) Hester felt after removing the letter and how “She had not known the weight until she had felt the freedom”(199). By saying “She had not known the weight until she had felt the freedom” it implies that Hester didn’t know the huge burden and emotional baggage that the letter had created. It was not until she had taken the letter off that she had freed herself from the bondage of the...