Alienation in Scarlet Letter

One of the most prominent themes found throughout the Scarlet Letter, is that of alienation. Before the plot of the novel even begins, we learn that Hester Prynne has been alienated by her husband, Roger Chillingworth, who has sent her off to live on her own in the new world. Although Chillingworth mentions that he will later rejoin Hester in the new world, it takes much longer than expected, and it is assumed that he has been lost at sea. During his absence, Hester commits the crime of adultery, ironically,   with a local minister, Arthur Dimmesdale. After this crime, Hester is brandished with a scarlet letter “A” which she must wear upon her chest. This scarlet letter represents her crime of adultery which she must wear at all times. This immediately makes her stand out against everyone else in the town. She is singled out for criticism by the townspeople, and she is banned to the outskirts of town, where she finds herself alienated once again. To add injury to insult, Hester is forced to stand on a scaffold with her daughter, where she is publicly humiliated by the town officials in front of everyone. It is at this point where we truly begin to gain some understanding of how alone she truly is. Here, Hester is forced to cope with her emotions on her own, confiding in the fact that only she knows who fathered her child.

            Another example of alienation in the novel can be found with Pearl, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, in her youth is very inquisitive of the situation in which she and her mother find themselves in. She asks many questions, and is especially intrigued by the purpose of the scarlet letter “A.” She is very knowledgeable and perceptive for her age, and this holds some of the townspeople under the impression that she is somewhat of a demonic child. It is under these circumstances, that Pearl much like her mother, has also been rejected and alienated by society.

            Perhaps one of the most ironic and interesting instances...