“the Central Conflict of the Scarlet Letter Arises from the Presentation of Different Ways of Seeing the Individual in Relation to Society.”

Topics: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Puritanism Pages: 4 (1421 words) Published: August 24, 2013
“The central conflict of the scarlet letter arises from the presentation of different ways of seeing the individual in relation to society.”

In The Scarlet Letter, we are presented with the character of Hester Prynn, a radical, unconventional outsider whose rebellious autonomy, intellectual independence and sexual desire fully transgress the boundaries of the puritanical society she lives in. Hawthorne employs the use of narrative techniques to present a myriad of different perspectives in relation to to Hester as a Puritanic heretic, such as presenting different versions of the same event, adding in overt advocacy and musings as well as narrative interjections to show the state of Hester's own mind. Hawthorne also uses extensive imagery and symbolism to show us the wild, lawless energy Pearl embodies- which only adds on to distrust that the Puritans have of them, seeing as they regard nature as the stomping ground of the black man. It is essentially the differences in opinion that are actually the cause of the central conflict regarding Hester; whether she is deserving of punishment for adultery- being forced to emboss a scarlet “A” on every article of her clothing, which is the catalyst for the intense judgement and alienation she and Pearl suffer at the hands of the severely puritanical community for years and years.

Almost everything in the world is interpretable in at least two conflicting ways. Throughout the whole book the town’s people despise Hester and some even want to end her life for this sin. Her daughter, Pearl, conceived through sin, is considered evil. Daughter and mother are shunned by this Puritan society, and this sin has haunted them throughout this book, and became Pearl’s identity. Hawthorne brings up the question while reading, “Can evil actions produce good consequences?” Hawthorne agrees that though you can be forgiven, you must still bear the consequences. And he uses Pearl to symbolize the salvation and redemption to Hester's...
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