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The Branded Mother and her Throwaway Child The Scarlet Letter is a story of hypocrisy and punishment The strict Puritan laws made adultery a sin punishable by death or a life of misery Although being an unwed mother or an illegitimate child is no longer a crime leading to capitol punishment the treatment of welfare mothers and their children is similar to the treatment Hester an Pearl received in Hawthornes novel Hester and Pearl are prime examples of the negative attitude society both Puritan and current has toward single mothers and their bastard children Hester and Pearl are the atypical example of illegitimate child and unwed mother The consequence of the relationship between Hester and Dimmesdale is a child out of wedlock Hester is forced to stand with her child on a scaffold which according to Hawthorne is invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself Pearl is forced to grow up without a father and Hester is left to make a life for herself and her child with no social succor The puritans favored laws that would force society to hear their preaching 2Gatis 5 To the Puritan community Hesters A is a mark of just punishment According to Crime and Punishment in American History executing adulterers was a rare event Branding and banishment was more common than the death penalty 6Friedman 36 In a society where there is no separation of church and state the letter prevents Hester from being an active member of society Hester or a puritan woman in her condition is held as an example for all to behold While Hester is forced to wear a symbol of her sin Pearl is forced to grow up watching her mother chastised She can not have a normal childhood for she does not fit into society Her father is a dead beat dad and lends no hand in her
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