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Thread: Puritan punishment

  1. #1
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    That is pretty insitfull. But I think Hawthorn was trying to prove that it is not the punishment that they are given by the law is what helped them, but here own determination to suffer. They could have both ran away, Hester was given the freedom to go where ever whe wanted, but she stayed, and excepted her punsihment. Dimmesdale punished himself by guilt, the puritains did nothing. They loved him, even after he confessed. Hawthorn was showing that the punsihment they gave themselves was the worst that they could recieve, and that it might not have made for a happy ending, but it is a just one.

  2. #2
    Winston
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    Puritan punishment

    AIM-oakleywjuggalo<br>Puritan Punishment: Cold?<br><br>Hawthorne, Author of The Scarlet Letter, criticizes that the style of punishment used by the Puritan Religion was radical, inhumane, and cold. He argues that the outcome of their punishments’ was damaging to the characters and their personality. However, this accusation is false. The punishments although seemingly inhumane, caused positive outcomes for all three characters Hester Prynne, Pearl Prynne, and Arthur Dimmesdale.<br>Hester Prynne is accused of adultery in a Massachusetts puritan colony in the 1600’s. (Hawthorne, 49) Although Hawthorne argues that Hester Prynne was hardened both socially and physically by puritan punishment, the outcome makes her more independent and stronger as a person. She begins to aid the less fortunate, sick, and poor in her community. “so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength." (Hawthorne, 148). The community begins to accept her as a humanitarian, and realize that she is actually a very giving and strong willed person (The Scarlet Letter).<br> Hester begins to think more independently, questioning the puritan social structure. “It is remarkable that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society”(Hawthorne, 151). From her Sin, Hester became aware of the inequalities within Puritan society, and sought to make change, hoping that women would one day see the equality she was never been able to experience. Without her sin, she would have never contemplated such an independent, positive, and radical idea that offers such a beneficial outcome for women in her imbalanced community. <br>Reverend Arthur Dimmsdale is the accomplice of Hester Prynne, they together, committed an act of adultery. Hawthorne argues that Dimmesdale sinks into a deep depression of moral shame. “The only truth that continued to give Mr. Dimmesdale a real existence on this earth was the anguish in his inmost soul" (Hawthorne,134). He argues that the effects of the puritans’ cold punishments could only give a harmful outcome. Although it may be true that Dimmesdale sinks into a deep depression after feeling guilt from his crimes, the outcome was not purely negative. Dimmesdale begins to preach about the crime he commits, which improves the quality of his sermons, because the puritan community begins to accept them with great enthusiasm. “He preached a discourse which was held to be the richest and most powerful, and the most replete with heavenly influences, that had ever proceeded from his lips”(Hawthorne, 145). His guilt, from the sin, actually benefits his sermons and his expressions as a human being. <br>Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne are not the only two that benefit from the sin. Pearl Prynne is the daughter of Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne. She, being the outcome of the sin, is an exception to Hawthorne’s argument. She experiences some harassment from fellow puritan children “pearl was born an outcast of the infantile world”(Hawthorne, 86). The harassment does not bring her any shame, but gives her mother the shame, because she feels at fault. “The mother felt like one who had evoked a spirit”(Hawthorne, 85). The sin of her parents does not yield shame or a negative outcome , because it was the sin that births her, and gives her everything she has.<br>The Puritans ideals and punishments may have appeared inhumane to Hawthorne, but the outcome wasn’t purely negative for any of the characters that were exposed to the crime seen in The Scarlet Letter. In all cases, the sin makes their lives more difficult and painful, but it also makes stronger as human beings, something they would have never would have been able to achieve without committing the sin. <br><br><br> <br><br>Works Cited<br>Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam, 1850.<br>The Scarlet Letter. College Club. 5 Nov 2002<br><http://navisite.collegeclub.com/servlet/novelnotes.SummaryServlet?note=scarletletter>.<br> <br>

  3. #3
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    this is really confusing i am just looking for the punishments not a story about these people
    Last edited by borntofly; 09-13-2011 at 07:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    The punishment that the Puritans handed out to Hester: was it legal? Wasn't Massachusetts a British colony at the time the story was set? I think in Mediaeval times women used to get fined if they gave birth out of wedlock. I don't know when that practice stopped. I have never heard of women being forced to sew an 'A' on their clothes. Did the American states make their own laws at the time?
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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