The Scarlet Letter and Chocolat: Influence of Characters Centuries Apart

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Character Pages: 3 (1147 words) Published: January 11, 2011
Kishan 1
Kunal Kishan
English III
Mrs. Goins
October 15 2010
How can two fictional characters a century apart influence people today? In The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the reader goes back into Boston Massachusetts around the late 1840’s and experiences the Puritan life. In Chocolat, written by Joanne Harris, you are placed in the middle of France around the 1960’s during lent. Both of these stories have similar women characters in them. In the communities that they live in, the town’s people have a problem with them. Both Hester and Vianne have committed sins and must find a way to live with their own guilt and the judgmental opinions of the people. Although Hester is in Scarlet Letter and Vianne is in Chocolat, they both show determination to live their lives and not let what other people think is right bother them. Everybody may have a different opinion on what they think is right, but they do not necessarily have the right to pass judgment on others.

In the Scarlet Letter, the main character Hester has committed a sin. She has had sex with another man besides her husband and now has produced a child out of wedlock. The town is ashamed to have someone like this in there community. The puritan life is to be pure and without sin. Hester’s punishment is three months in jail and sitting on the scaffold to be humiliated. She has to live in a little shack in the middle of nowhere with her daughter Rose. For Hester’s income she sews gloves, mittens, and scarves. The town Kishan 2

looks at her as if she has three eyes. Hester is not bothered by this at all. She looks at it as a new way of life. She has accepted her sin and now is going on with her own business. “Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers and the made her strong.” When Hester is asked if she regrets it, she says no because she is human and everyone makes mistakes. The town is being very hypocritical toward Hester and her daughter. Instead of...
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