The Scarlet Letter

Sin's Evolution in The Scarlet Letter

Evolution is defined as "a process of change"(Webster's Dictionary), and it has been proved many times in the past that sin is a direct process that leads to change in one's spiritual as well as fleshly life. The three main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, are all revealed as sinners and whether for the best or for the worst, reveal sin's "evolution" upon their lives. Hawthorne reveals a lucid portrayal of this change by providing the reader insight into the deepest chambers of the characters' thoughts regarding this sin.

Hester Prynne first appears to the reader as a horrible and unrighteous woman, gossiped about by all the "pious" and "righteous" puritans, but yet it is stated "...seen in this beautiful object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity..."(54). This statement proves that she gives the onlookers a vision of the Virgin Mary, beautiful, innocent, and pure. Upon her return to the prison she erupts into an emotional frenzy and she was "...found to be in a state of nervous excitement..."(67) leaving Master Brackett in shambles of what he is to do with...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 724 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4178 literature essays, 1402 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in