The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter

Category: Cause and Effect Essay

Subcategory: Classic English Literature

Level: High School

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Attractive Atrocious
Hester wears a Scarlet Letter A, which can be interpreted to mean an attraction. She is described as beautiful, “tall with a figure of elegance and with dark and abundant hair that is glossy” (Hawthorne, 2009). She is more than simply beautiful. The character has a certain status and dignity which come as a result of her attractiveness. In her bearing and appearance, she is isolated from the cruel and drab people around her. With a child clutched to her chest, Hawthorne comments that she would have proposed the Virgin Mary to the Catholics witnessing the scene: “a sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world” (Hawthorne, 2009). The above characterization mirrors a religion of love as well as mercy which is a sharp contrast to the people judging her as an atrocious. The letter shows her defiance of scornful judgments. She makes the letter A, something of beauty which she believes about her love rather than something shameful.
On the other hand, letter A can be interpreted to mean Hester is atrocious. She had a consensual sexual relationship with someone other than her spouse, which the seventh commandment forbade and it is considered punishable by death by Puritans. The leaders of the colony believe that they are just acting with mercy in sparing her life. Perhaps they considered that Hester thought her husband died and the partner should share the responsibility. Therefore, she wears it as a sign of her s…

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