The outcome of the punishment and how well it worked or didn’t work depends on the person dealing with the consequences. Towards the beginning of the book, The Scarlet Letter, I think Nathaniel Hawthorne is making the scarlet letter seem so terrible and cruel for Hester. But as the book comes to a close, you realize that it has done some good things for Hester. Though this punishment of wearing a red “A” on your chest to show adultery seems cold, there were some positive outcomes and it was effective after all.
In Massachusetts, during the 1600’s, Hester Prynne is punished for adultery by having to carry around a scarlet “A” on her chest. By doing so it’s showing her punishment for sinning. Hawthorne suggests that the bitter punishment will turn Hester into a cold and hard woman, but it does the opposite. The “A” turns Hester into somebody she wasn’t before, in the best way possible. She becomes strong and confident. “So strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” (Hawthorne 148) After sometime, Hester begins to feel the “A” has become a part of her and there is nothing to be done that could take it away.
This punishment was affective, but not only for the bad. By wearing the “A” on her chest Hester set an example for the rest of the women in the town. At first, they cut her out of society and viewed her very poorly. “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die.” (Hawthorne 59) When Hester is first presented with her punishment, the women of the town think of Hester as nothing more than a hussy. The punishment was affective in this way; because I’m sure none of the other girls would want to be in Hester’s position. It prevented them from committing the same sin. On the other hand, another part of Hester’s punishment was to stand in the middle of town for three hours with the new addition to her clothing. In this way, the punishment doesn’t seem effective. Instead of seeming fearful for the same fate happening to them, the women were...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document