Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

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The novel “The Scarlet Letter” uses hypocrisy in a few different forms. This novel has various different types of themes but this essay will only focus on the theme of hypocrisy. Three examples of hypocrisy in the novel are People say, said another, that the Reverend Master Dimmesdale, her godly pastor, takes it grievously to heart that such a scandal should have come upon his congregation”, “My poor women, said the not unkind old minister, the child shall be well cared for, far better than thou canst do it”, Mr. Wilson replies “I feared the women had not better thought than to make a mountebank of her child”.

The first quotation stating people said another, that the Reverend Master Dimmesdale, her godly pastor, takes it grievously to heart that such a scandal should have come upon his congregation”  this is meaningful to the theme of hypocrisy because you are able to establish a point of view from a character in the novel who is so negative toward Hester Prynne. This is an example of hypocrisy because Dimmesdale is found out not to be the most straightforward person throughout the novel. At this point in the novel Dimmesdale is a two-faced man that doesn’t want to suffer the consequences for his actions. He knows that if he were to be completely honest with the townspeople they would disrespect him very greatly because he committed a crime that goes against the beliefs of the Puritans. For these reasons is what makes Dimmesdale a hypocrite toward Hester.

In the second quotation “My poor women,” said the not unkind old minister, “the child shall be well cared for, far better than thou canst do it” this also is a good example of hypocrisy because you again listen to the words of someone who doesn’t know Hester Prynne as a mother but as a criminal. The old minister says that she will not be well cared for because he doesn’t feel as though a women who has committed such a crime cannot care for the child. This is clearly a hypocrite because he is insincere toward her feelings toward the child. The minister also has no right to say that this woman cannot care for the child without even giving her a chance to raise her. This minister has obviously has no sympathy toward the single mother and hasn’t looked at her life as a whole but as her act of being an immoral person to the Puritan society.

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In the final quotation you are faced yet again with another act of hypocrisy. You able to identify it by reading this quote, Mr. Wilson replies, “I feared the women had not better thought than to make a mountebank of her child”. In this quote you realize that Mr. Wilson is just like the old minister in also believing that Hester is not going to be able to raise the child. Once again in the novel we have a character basing his opinion on Hester raising her daughter when he has no idea of what kind of mother she is going to be. Mr. Wilson believes that she is going to raise her child into being a mountebank. These are words of a hypocrite because he doesn’t know how she is going to raise her own daughter and he shouldn’t have an opinion on whether or not she should or shouldn’t raise the child. The court should give or take away the rights for Hester to raise her child.

After reading the following quotes you can make the suggestion that Hester should at least have a fair chance at raising her child without people interfering and making assumptions about her. Hester may have been a criminal in the eyes of the Puritans, but she wasn’t scared and didn’t back down to the townspeople who show hatred toward her and this is why she shall be able to raise a child. Hester is strong and feels sorry for what she has done but she can’t change it so she learns to live with it. Hester may be a criminal but Pearl doesn’t deserve to live without a mother’s mistake. The people throughout the story don’t look through Pearl’s perspective but through there own ideas. This is why they are all negative against Hester raising her daughter Pearl.



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