top-rated free essay

the scarlet letter

By brunettebabe1997 May 26, 2014 684 Words


In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne displays many examples of love and hatred throughout the story. Though Hawthorne shows that love and hatred both have the potential to harm, hatred has a greater tendency to cause pain. This is clearly seen in Hester’s love for Pearl and Chillingworth’s hatred for Dimmesdale.

Pearl is not the easiest child to love, but the attributes Hester has attained over the years have allowed her to show motherly love regardless. One aspect of Hester’s love is her patience. Pearl is constantly asking Hester questions about her scarlet letter, and instead of Hester getting mad she assures Pearl that everything is okay, and not to worry. Another aspect of Hester’s love is her comforting and reassuring attitude towards Pearl. When Dimmesdale refuses to stand publicly with Pearl and her mother, Hester tells Pearl, “Not now, dear child… but in days to come… thou shall sit upon his knee; and he will teach thee many things, and love thee dearly” (pg 191). Hester consoles Pearl and tells her that some day soon they will be together as a family. Another aspect of Hester’s love is seen when she fights to keep Pearl. She argues with the governor saying, “God gave me the child… He gave her, in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!” (pg 52). Hester also has a desire for Pearl to have a better life than hers. When Pearl asks her mother about the scarlet letter and whether or not she will acquire one when she’s older. Hester answers her by saying, “Nor ever will, my child, I hope” (pg 168).

Even though Hester loves Pearl so much, by being Pearl’s mother she is causing herself emotional and mental pain. Hester sacrifices her beauty in order to keep Pearl happy. When Hester removes the scarlet letter and takes her hair down, Pearl throws a tantrum and won’t stop until Hester puts her hair back up and reattaches the letter. Hester felt a since of relief from her sin as soon as she took off the scarlet letter. “…a long deep sigh in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit” (p.192). Another example of how Pearl causes Hester pain is that she is a constant reminder of the sin that she has committed.

Hester cheated on Chillingworth with Dimmesdale causing Chillingworth to hate Dimmesdale and seek revenge. There are many examples how much he despised Dimmesdale. One example to prove Chillingworth’s hatred was that he would not give up until he fulfilled his revenge on Dimmesdale. “I shall seek this man… sooner or later he must needs be mine.” (p.69) Chillingworth relentlessly waits to see Dimmesdale in pain. “I shall see him tremble. I shall feel myself shudder.” (p.69) Chillingworth strives on seeing Dimmesdale suffer. He likes seeing him afraid. “And all, all in the sight of his worst enemy! He has been conscious of me. He has felt an influence dwelling always upon him like a curse.” (p.141) Another example is that Chillingworth psychologically tortures Dimmesdale. Chillingworth is constantly around Dimmesdale. He usually never lets him out of his sight. He is always telling Dimmesdale to confess his sin.

By focusing on causing Dimmesdale pain, in the end Chillingworth causes himself more pain. “All [Chillingworth's] strength and energy-all his vital and intellectual force-seemed at once to desert him; insomuch that he positively withered up, shrivelled away, and almost vanished from mortal sight.” (p.224) Chillingworth puts all his time and efforts into making Dimmesdale’s life a living hell. As Chillingworth continued to seek revenge his appearance grew uglier and uglier. After Dimmesdale died Chillingworth had nothing left to live for. "Had made the very principle of his life to consist in the pursuit...of revenge; and...was left with no further material to support it.” (p. 307)

Chillingworth’s hatred for Dimmesdale caused him more pain then Hester’s love for Pearl. As shown in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne expresses how love and hate both pose a threat to people.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Scarlet Letter

    ...Kayla Lang 1/21/14 Sin Victimizes the Innocent In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the idea of sin and how it affected those in the Puritan era. Hester Prynne, with her baby in her arms, is ridiculed in front of the entire town. Hester and her daughter are shunned to a house on the outskirts of town, isolating t...

    Read More
  • The Scarlet Letter

    ...Jessica Thompson Heller Honors English 10 3 January 13 Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter “He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil” (Thomas Fuller). In modern times, society doesn’t sentence a man to jail time for committing the crime of adultery. We have grown to accept adultery...

    Read More
  • Scarlet Letter

    ...” A Parasitic Worm-Leech The uses of blood-sucking leeches as medical tools are prevalent, but a lot of people still detest “leeches” and in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne used both characteristics of a leech to epitomize Roger Chillingworth, the husband of Hester, the protagonist. In the story, to find the man who gave birth to Hester...

    Read More
  • Scarlet Letter

    ...Amelia B. Professor Gao English 430 Spring 2012 “Scarlet Letter” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter is a story full of themes of guilt, pride, hypocrisy, retribution, and isolation. Taking place during the seventeenth century, the story of Hester Prynne and her famed scarlet letter depicts a story of unconceivable propor...

    Read More
  • Scarlet Letter

    ...In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter the story takes place in Puritanical America where the young Hester Prynne, after committing adultery is punished on the basis of what the town thinks is right. She is simultaneously a part of the town and is also pushed away from it. Hawthorne explores the theme of liminality between society and nat...

    Read More
  • Scarlet Letter

    ...Topic 2 Throughout the novel, The Scarlett letter, the theme that “the punishment imposed on us by others may not be as destructive as the guilt we impose on ourselves” is shown a lot through some characters, especially Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. As the book goes along, we find out that Reverend Dimmesdale is Hester’s lover. Although the...

    Read More
  • Scarlet Letter

    ... Sin in The Scarlet Letter Since the dawn of time people have read, studied and enjoyed books in which the hero or heroes fall from grace. No matter who those heroes are- the human race in The Bible,the demon prince Lestat in Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles"or a certain Thane of Cawdor in "Macbeth"- sin plays a greatpa...

    Read More
  • The scarlet letter

    ...There comes a point in time when each citizen of the world should ask themselves: Have I ever lied to my parents? Have I ever cheated on a test? Have I ever stolen, coveted, or perhaps committed adultery? All supernatural and religious beliefs and preferences aside. No mortal man can claim to have lived a life free of mistakes. So, no one person...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.