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Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter - The Burdens That Separate Us

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The Burdens That Separate Us Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic piece of literature, The Scarlet Letter, gives us a realistic and negative depiction of a typical Puritan society in Massachusetts around the early 1700's. The main character, Hester, had an affair with the minister, Dimmesdale, when her husband didn't meet her in America. Now she is forced to wear the scarlet letter "A" for her punishment. Chillingworth, her husband, comes to the town after the crime has been done, and his evil character causes many characters, but especially Hester and Dimmesdale to carry burdens. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne shows that a burden is a continuing struggle of guilt which causes trouble in relationships, because of the strict Puritan beliefs. The Puritan faith is very strict and makes people feel bad about themselves. ...read more.


The burdens people carry do not allow them to form relationships together. Dimmesdale carries the burden that he was the other person who committed adultery with Hester, but nobody knows this part of the story. He struggles with the guilt often, but still cannot bring himself to confess his sins until the end. Dimmesdale has his own troubles to worry about making it very hard to form a relationship with Hester. When she asks if he has found peace, he replies "None!-nothing but despair!" and cannot seem to get better (Hawthorne, 175). He is also constantly sick from his guilt and has to be taken care of and has serious medical issues with his heart. Because the people like Dimmesdale so much, it made it even worse. ...read more.


Hester too continues to wear the scarlet letter. This is her burden which she wears publicly throughout the book, and even though the meaning is fading, it will always be with her. She feels as though she can't get rid of it even though the town may be willing to let her. Her letter of shame and Dimmesdale's guilt stay with them forever. If the Puritan way of life was not so strict they may have never been in this terrible situation to begin with. The rigid controlled lifestyle of the Puritans is what caused Hester and Dimmesdale to suffer and also prevented them from being together. The burdens they carried were the only things causing them to struggle and the only things that separated them from having a successful relationship and raising a family together. Instead they were both forced to live lives of difficulty and despair. ...read more.

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