Isolation In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter Pages: 4 (994 words) Published: September 25, 2015


Generally throughout society people are condemned, punished, and judged for their individual choices and flaws. This can depict the concept of alienation and the way it affects the relationship between an individual and their society. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, sin and guilt play a huge role in the Puritan society. The author uses Hester to show that people who make mistakes will often face consequences that isolate them from their society. Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Hester experiences the effects of isolation and the outcome of sin due to the corrupt rules and strict moral values in the society.
In the eyes of the Puritan society Hester is a true sinner due to her committing adultery. While being on display for the...

After being released from prison Hester goes into the woods and finds a place " on the outskirts of town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage..." (68). Hawthorne shows that the cottage was isolated but, not totally isolated so that it would hide Hester from the rest of the world. Hawthorne uses the isolated village to show her position amongst the Puritans who have neglected her for committing a sin. As expected, Hester's absence in the society made her seem unapproachable, which made it clear that she was only allowed to live somewhere with values, that did not portray her status as a sinner and outcast. Although she felt as if she was being isolated by living on the outskirts of town, " there was a more real life for Hester here in New England than that unknown region...here had been her sin; here her sorrow; and here yet was to be her penitence..." (179). In other words, Hawthorne explains that Hester remained in the community because she felt it was the place where she must still serve consequences for her sin. As the quote says, her entire struggle with sin, sorrow, and shame have all been established in the the Puritan society. After facing humiliating experiences she is convinced she would be unable to start her life over somewhere new. Consequently, Hester's shame and sorrow led her to becoming more of an outcast to the Puritan...
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