“Confess thy truth and thou shall have eternal rest.” I belive that is the moral to be taught in this novel of inspirational love, yet a novel of much sorrow. The impossible became possible in The Scarlet Letter, a story set back in the Puritan Times. In this response, I will give my reactions in writing to different aspects of the novel;the characchters, my likes and dislikes, my questions, and my opinion of the harsh Puritain lifestyle.
Hester Prynne, the Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth each suffered guilt in their own way in the novel The Scarlet Letter. In the beginning of the novel, Hester Prynne should have not suffered the way she did on the scaffold alone. She was forced to be intergated by the high-officials of the town, while holding her little Pearl in arms. Making matters worse, the father of the child was in that very group of officals. She was then sentenced to wear the scarlet letter “A”, showing her guilt “externally”. Unable to take it off, she was forced to show her guilt to the entire settlement. However, the Reverend Dimmesdale suffered “internally”, with a scarlet letter of his own engraved in his mind, and on his chest as well. He felt like he betrayed God, and beat himself in a frenzy to prove his wrongdoing. He often questioned wheather his authority was true or not. Roger Chillingworth suffered the least, because he only failed to reveal the secret that he knew, the father of the child who Hester Prynne was forced to live with. This small restriction to his life forced him to suffer “internally”.
I had different likes and dislikes in the novel The Scarlet Letter. There were many things that needed to be judged to fit into the given catagories, including; character attitudes, and character decisions. For example, the attitude displayed from the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale was rather unnapealing to me. There are different ways of settling ones guilt rather than whipping oneself in a closet. The one character whose attitude was appealing to me was that of Pearl’s. She showed that mistakes in a relationship often lead to bad situations. Her mischeif and connection to the devil are examples of just those situations. Character decisions played an euqally important role. For example, I thought the descision for Hester not to tell who was the father of Pearl on the scaffold to be very brave, but was wrong. She could have ended it a lot quicker if she told the truth. A descision that I supportted was the plan for Hester, the Reverend Dimmesdale and Pearl to leave town, because it was a way to start a new life.
Certain questions came about when reading The Scarlet Letter. Many of them involved small details. . For example, why did Hester not tell her daughter at a younger age what the “A” embroidered on her clothes meant? Why did the minister wear elaborate garments when conducting his self-punishment in the closet? However, other questions were involving larger situations. Why did the minster keep quiet when he knew he wouldn’t live for much longer? What made Hester finnally remove her scarlet letter (for a short period of time)?
The Puritanic age was a harsh and brutal period of time. At many times, citizens had no rights whatsoever. The persecuted depended on the fate of the few elite, or the top officials of town. Their laws were srict regaurding having a child out of wedlock, and if not followed, a scarlet letter “A” would place itself upon that person(s). My thoughts on the whole Puritanic epoch are not sympothetic. The strict rules set guildlines and formed a society in which much of it had no problems. I would even think that if applied to currnet times, it would turn society around dramatically.