Scarlet Letter

The A
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” Hester Prynne commits adultery and is punished by having to wear the letter A on her clothing at all times.   Hester’s A means different things to the religiously devout Puritans and Hester.   To the Puritan community, the A serves as both an example of sin and a reminder to stay close to the bible.   To Hester, the A becomes a part of who she is as a person.   Throughout the novel, Hester is given countless opportunities to remove the letter, but does so only at the end of the novel, when she has gained control over both her personal and public identities.   For Hester, to remove the scarlet letter would be to acknowledge the power the letter has in determining who she is.
In the Puritan community where Hester lives, people take sin extremely seriously.   So when Hester commits adultery, she is punished severely and is forced to wear the scarlet A on her clothing at all times.   When Hester comes out of the courthouse at the beginning of the novel, Hawthorne describes the A, “On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A” (Hawthorne50).   This quote shows how significant Hester’s sin is on the Puritan community.   The Puritans see the A as a fitting punishment for an awful sin.   The Puritans also see Hester’s A as an example of sin.   Near the middle of the novel, a group of Puritans see Hester and stare at her.   In the book it says, “They stopped to stare at Hester and whispered amongst themselves” (Hawthorne72).   This quote shows how the Puritans have made Hester’s A an example to stay close to the bible.   They see Hester as a sinner and an outcast, which discourages them from doing wrong.   At the end of the novel, after Hester has regained her respect in the community, the Puritans change the meaning of the A from adultery to able.   In the book, it reads, “The people of Massachusetts started to see the A as...