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Essay/Term paper: Scarlet letter: who should punish a sinner? religion, society, or individuals

Essay, term paper, research paper:  The Scarlet Letter

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Scarlet Letter: Who Should Punish A Sinner? Religion, Society, or Individuals

Who should punish a sinner? Should it be religion, society, or the
individual? In Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter all three affect the main character
Hester Prynne. Religion punishes her with the Scarlet Letter, society
ostracizes her as punishment, and individually she was able to move on in life
but still returned to her haunting past where she died.

Religion plays a big part in the Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne wore the
Scarlet Letter to remind her of the mistake ahe made. Instaed of taking Pearl
away the people wanted her to wear the "A" for adultry. Hester brought up her
child forcing the the thought of the heavenily father. Hester's whole lifestyle
was altered. She obeyed everyone and for seven years was cursed by standing on
the scaffold. The people's beliefs strongly enforced the idea that Hester would
wear the Scarlet Letter, so she did. It constantly forced the tought of the sin
she had commited and would haunt her for good. "I have thought have death," said
she, - "have wished for it, - would even have prayed for it, were it fit that
such as I should pray for anything."

Society was an influence on the scarlet letter. People of the town
believed that Hester was a witch as well as sinner. Society ostracized her
because no one in the town had ever delt with any kind of sin as adultry so they
looked at her as a witch. The people in a way wanted to ruin her life because
people actually thought she was bad. One of the real canadites that wanted to
ruin Hester was Mistress Hibbins.

Through out the whole story Mistress Hibbins constantly gives Hester her
piece of mind.

"Thou thyself wilt see it, one time or another. They say, child, thou art of
the lineage of the Prince of the Air! Wilt thou ride with me, some fine night,
to see thy father."

Individually she was ostracized and critizied no matter where she went.
As time went on she helped the people proving there was a true side to Hester
Prynne. That led to the "A" no longer standing for adultry but for able. When
all had been coming together for Hester it proved that her punnishment from the
people had turned to a compliament. This shows that individually she was able to
handle the heat of the people. When she became real strong she was able to move
on with life but she faced the fact that her life would never be the same if she
didn't move back to her haunted town full of dreadful memories. So she did, and
that's were she died. "I know not! I know not!" she hurridly repeated.
"Better? Yea; so we may both die, and little pearl die with us!" As we know the
conclusion Hester did indeed die and lay next to the one she loved, the minister.

Who should punish a sinner? Should it be religion, society, or the
individual? In Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter all three affect the main character
Hester Prynne. Religion punishes her with the scarlet letter, society
ostracizes her as punishment, and individually she was able to move on in life
but still returned to her haunting past where she died. It proves that
individually a person hurts themself more then anything. Hester could live on
anywhere else, her life wouldn't be the same.


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