Critical Paper Topic 3. Jazmin Koerper, Beatrice Vu, Brad Deckel , Tylor Flebbe , Meg Larouche . Evaluating Characters.
Jazmin Koerper, Beatrice Vu, Brad Deckel, Tylor Flebbe, Meg Larouche
There are multiple views a reader can have of the central characters in Hawthorne’s novel. Is Dimmesdale pitied by the reader? Should he be pitied by the reader? (OR) Is Hester pitied by the reader? Should she be pitied by the reader? When and why? Why not?
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne leads the reader to develop many different ideas about main characters such as Hester and Dimmesdale through his use of the puritan society and the inner goodness of people.
Both Hester and Dimmesdale…
-Different perspective of Hester and Dimmesdale
-Evidence leading to different perspectives
He suffers more than anyone else in the book. Hester's "sin" is out in the open; she has made her peace with it. It was much more difficult, and more tormenting for Dimmesdale to have to keep it secret. He punishes himself far more than anyone else ever could
He lives a life of hypocrisy. Dimmesdale has good qualities, but he also has some bad ones such as hypocrisy and weakness. lives his life preaching sermons about the consequences of sin, but hypocritical when dealing with sin himself.
She sins with a man she is not married to and so she must be punished greatly. Since it was back in the puritan society, she was looked down upon for her sin and secrecy.
She accepts and owns up to her sins and she has made her peace with it. She shows pride in the letter A and starts doing good deeds for the people in town. The people started to like her and didn't look down on her as much as they did before.
“Never!” replied Hester, looking, not at Mr. Wilson, but into the deep and troubled eyes of the younger clergyman. “It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!” Chp. 3, pg. 78
Hester indirectly references that her public shame must make up for what Dimmesdale could never confess
“Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, tomorrow noontide?” inquired Pearl. “Nay; not so, my little Pearl,” answered the minister; for... all the dread of public exposure; that had been the anguish of his life, had returned to him. chp. 12, pg. 182
Dimmesdale unwilling to publicize his sin to the community
Individual vs society
Dimmesdale cannot stand out as an individual
“Many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” Chp. 13, pg. 192
Hester has never been particularly shameful of the A and was able to own up to it
Her punishment was meant to make her appear weak in front of the community, however her strong personality overcame all of the society’s stereotypes
“The judgement of God is on me,” answered the conscience-stricken priest. “It is too much for me to struggle with!” “Heaven would show mercy,” rejoined Hester, “hadst thou the strength to take advantage of it.” Chp. 17, pg. 236
Dimmesdale cannot deal with his guilt
Hester points out that God would be more merciful if Dimmesdale would confess
“In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and... [with] a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbors.” Chp. 2, pg. 61
Hester is meant to be shameful of her sin but shows inner strength and pride while presenting pearl and the scarlet letter to the community.