English 11 2
15 December 2004
The Ring of Shame
“Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. Come hither once again, and we will stand all three together!” In his feeble attempts to make public his hidden shame, Reverend Dimmesdale attempts to include himself in the infinite ring of ignominy that he, Hester, and Pearl have inevitably been trapped in. With this theme in mind, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, uses the characters of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Peal to illuminate the them of isolation coupled wit the destruction of
The fabric “A” that Hester must wear sets her apart from everyone in the colony. It is firmly and magnificently placed up her clothing but it also has been sewn into her heart. “Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart.” Hester’s “A” causes others to disassociate themselves with her, but her heart cause her to disassociate with others. Hester placed herself in isolation because of both the guilt in her heart and the heinous acts of others.
As Hester’s shame and guilt is shown for all to see, Dimmesdale’s hidden guilt prevents him from forming intimate social relationships. In order to have an intimate relationship, one must open his or herself up to the other party. Dimmesdale is not able to do this, because he fears the result that might come if he tells any soul about his sin. He is forced to keep his problems concealed. Because of his confinement and hidden secrets he has made himself ill. “The physician advanced directly in front of his patient, laid his hand upon his bosom, and thrust aside the vestment, that, hitherto, had always covered it.
Pearl represents the third ring of ignominy in this story. “Pearl was born an outcast of the infantile world.” This holds true because Pearl was the daughter of Hester, the town adulteress. The other children ken this and persecuted Pearl for her mother’s sin, which...
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