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The Scarlet Letter: Compare Contrast Essay

In the world of literature, there are many ways to indirectly convey or foreshadow events, settings, and situations. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter uses a great deal of literary devices and techniques in order to effectively lead the reader towards his viewpoint and, finally, towards his purpose. The sin of adultery, which acts as the base and impetus for much of the plot in The Scarlet Letter, affects Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth the most; however, each of the preceding is affected differently by the sin and each of their fates is decided accordingly. Every one of the aforementioned also gains a sort of wisdom, be it good or be it evil, from their suffering. Hawthorne uses symbolism, metaphors, and imagery to convey each character’s intrinsic traits which are forced to surface as a result of the sin. The author uses internal and external conflict to represent each character’s wisdom gained from their suffering.
Hester’s external release of pain is in great contrast with Dimmesdale’s internal accumulation of pain. Dimmesdale’s suffering is very much internal and continues to build slowly and strenuously. The air of regret from the sin of adultery is held in Dimmesdale like a balloon being slowly filled until it explodes. Dimmesdale tries repeatedly to release the pressure that keeps building, but he finds the process to be futile. The same air of regret is exhaled from Hester by the scarlet letter like a ventilation grate; the scarlet letter, despite the ignominy and shame it causes, acts as a form of releasing the sin’s pain. The scarlet letter is external and releases, rather than holds, pain. Unlike Hester, Dimmesdale lacks any way to vent his pain. His only outputs for his pain are his sermons, which are not taken for what they really are by the adoring public eye.
Hester gains a sort of moral wisdom from her sin’s punishment. She is not selfish, jealous, or greedy of others. On the contr…


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