’s Worn By Hester And Dimm Essay, Research Paper
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.