In The Scarlet Letter, how does the A affect the characters?

Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur DImmesdale

and Pearl if you feel like including her?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    hester prynne must always wear the letter a on her bosom as a symbol of her sin, adultery; so in essence, it acts as a permanent reminder of her past mistake for everyone to see. shamed and alienated from the rest of the puritan community, hester grows into a contemplative freethinker, speculating human nature, social organization, and larger moral questions. her tribulations cause her to be stoic and thoughtful (or less rash, as we can presume she was impulsive/passionate before the scarlet letter due to the fact that she had an affair).

    roger chillingworth, the husband of hester prynne, is what his name suggests--he is cold-hearted and seems to lack any kind of human compassion. as an affect of the scarlet letter, we see him morph more and more throughout the novel into a cruel-intentioned manipulator. his desire to hurt others in the name of revenge stands in stark contrast to hester prynne and arthur dimmesdale's sin, which had love, not hate, at its core. any harm that may have come from the young lovers' deed was unanticipated and inadvertent, whereas chillingworth reaps deliberate harm on people. the scarlet letter affects him by awakening his inner demons, in a sense, over his lust for revenge, and thus causes his death.

    arthur dimmesdale has a very active conscience. the fact that hester takes all of the blame for their sin in the form of the scarlet letter wreaks havoc on his conscience, and his resultant mental anguish and physical weakness open up his mind and allow him to empathize with others. consequently, he becomes an emotionally powerful speaker, and his congregation is able to receive meaningful spiritual guidance from him. in the end, dimmesdale's weakened physical state--which was destroyed by the weight of his conscience, moral values, and thus his consequent guilt--causes him to die.

    pearl is affected by the letter because she is constantly aware of it on her mother's chest; it was the first thing she noticed about her mother. throughout the novel, she seems to be enchanted by it, because she can tell that it sets her and her mother apart from the rest of the community.

  • 1 decade ago

    A affects Hester Prynne because she is now the target of everyone's attention. Her secret has been exposed to the world and she experiences shame.

    Roger Chillingsworth is embarrassed that his wife committed adultery

    Pearl recognizes her mother only with the letter A

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