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A comparison and contrast in both as worn by hester and dimmesdale

A Comparison and Contrast In Both A's Worn By Hester and Dimmesdale

The two A's worn in the novel by both Hester and Dimmesdale are

dramatically different, yet they are born and made by the same identical sins.

These letters are also differentiated by the infinitely changing emotional state

and physical well being of the character, the towns views of morality and

natural order, and the affecting environment. The two sins of most importance

in the novel and that serve the greatest beneficiality in the appearance of the

A's are--of course-- adultery and hypocrisy.

The separation in the appearance of both of the A's begins with each

characters own personal interpretation of the extremity of their sins. Where

Hester's A is beautiful and artistically done ("fantastically embroidered and

illuminated upon her bosom; pg.37) her interpretation of the extremity of her

sins is one of self composure and nonchalantness. She views her sins solely as

a "violation in the natural order" of the environment and therefore cannot even

perceive her sin as being evil except through outside brainwashing. While

Dimmesdale's personal interpretation as to the extremity of his own sins is a

"violation of God's law," which is the law that he is totally dedicated to and

supported by. Dimmesdale's interpretation of his sin is much more severe than

Hester's, it is a breach and direct contradiction of his own self consciousness

and physical existence. Therefore the appearance of his A, even though it is

never directly described in the novel, must be raw, jagged, and brutally crooked

(...a ghastly rapture; pg.95). Maybe Dimmesdale's self torture is so horrifying

or inconceivable that it is either indescribable, (...too mighty to be expressed

only by the eye of his figure; pg.95), or best left up to the reader's

imagination. Unlike Hester, Dimmesdale, because of self interpretation, cannot

in any way conceive his sins of being anything but evil.

Although the appearance of the A's are proportional to the

interpretation by each character; also the appearance of the A's is directly

correlated between the consequences each character receives because of their

sins, both Hester's and Dimmesdale's punishment is introduced through a new

character and some sort of isolation. The new character's are a form of

abstract contrasting where each new character is an extension of the sinner's

"A" itself. Where as Chillingworth is a doubled extension of Dimmesdale's

consciousness; Pearl is a contrast to Hester's creativity, patience, and

composure. Dimmesdale's punishment through Chillingworth is one of mental

bombardment and spiritual torture which supports the theory that Dimmesdale's A

must be horrifically putrid and indescribable. Pearl's punishment towards

Hester is one of irritation that attempts to counter balance Hester's

everlasting patience and composure. Because Hester does not let her irritation

get to her and remains constantly tranquil, the A that she wears (ie. the

extension of the A she bears) is as beautiful and natural as she is.

So the A's worn in the novel, even though from the same origin, are the

exact antithesis of each other separated by personal interpretation and

individual consequences. Where one character's beauty and open mindedness to

her crime and punishment makes her A and her punishment (Pearl) natural and

beautiful. While the other character's torture and self hatred of himself and

his crime make the burden that he carries much more heavy. Dimmesdale's A and

the extension to his A (Chillingworth) are ugly, and brutal.

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