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The Scarlet Letter

             There are many characters in Puritan societies, that have provided dissent within the community. These people include Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, and countless others. The major dissent was towards religion, because this was the most forced element of Puritan fellowship. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Puritan New England, Hester Prynne was the main offender. The Scarlet Letter is an isolated drama of one woman's shame and guilt for her solitary sin. She is ridiculed and cast off from her community and the Puritans are faced with an adulteress and an innocent child, born from sin. Hawthorne's use of tone, conflict and point of view help to describe the impact of Hester's sin on herself, and her community. .
             Hester Prynne was a married woman who had an affair with the resident minister. She was found out and prosecuted. She then was made to stand on the scaffold. Her punishment was to wear a letter "A" on her person every waking moment. Hawthorne describes Prynne as having elegance and poise even in the face of ridicule and hate. He regards her with admiration. He sees a situation in which Hester is seemingly unaffected by her repercussion, the dirty looks of the crowd or their hateful, muffled whispers. His description of the crowd includes that of the Goodwives. They are hateful, sniveling women, who seem to enjoy making their own punishments for Hester. They seem more put out that Hester is so cool and collected and reassure themselves that they would never commit such an infraction. Otherwise, Hawthorne's description of the crowd is almost objective. He tells the reader that poised at the scaffold, relatively courtly at the scaffold, a place of mortification and shame. Hester's crime caused her to be an outcast and caused the community's people to wonder about her, themselves, their faith and devotedness. Mr. Hawthorne's tone during his description of Hester is subtly mystified and filled with wonder.

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