"Sin and Its Engulfing Role in the Community
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses significant themes and Puritan ideals, such as the concept of sin. In the first chapter, Hawthorne indicates that the colony set land aside for the cemetery and the prison. This shows that the colonists knew there would be serious sin that required punishment, and that every person would eventually die and would need a cemetery. They came to the realization that death and sin were inevitable. This is like Puritan beliefs, which says that all people are born sinners because of Adam and Eve's early sin. The scenes at the prison and the scaffold are held in wide open, in public places. This is another Puritan belief; that sin should be sought out and brought out in the open so that it can be punished visibly. Therefore it teaches the rest of the community a lesson.
This new society was afraid that their community would fall apart "in a land where iniquity is searched out and punished" if they did not seek out those individuals that were immoral in their eyes. Their fear of sin and wickedness drove them in their quest to do what they felt was right. The society had to protect itself from its own judgment. Their fault was that they only saw Hester for the crime she had committed but not as the wonderful woman she really was. When the community banished Hester, they succeeded in upholding their morality but lost an important individual. In reality, the community is nothing more than a collection of individuals. Since everyone within the community was forced to stand inspection, when someone was caught being bad, everyone could be glad it was not he or she. This closed-mindedness helped feed the hatred for Hester and the societies' need to identify her by describing her with the letter A.
Hester is also a heroic figure because she accepts her sin. She is open about it, and she doesn't struggle for that fa