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Word Count: 935
The Worshiped and the Damned There are many ways in which one can describe the idea of alienation and the relationship between an individual to a society Whether or not people believe alienation to be beneficial to a person or group the fact is that it has become a large part of what makes humanity so diverse For this reason alienation tends to be an underlying theme in a great number of novels The uses and benefits of the alienation theme can vary from author to author likewise the portrayal and understanding of what it means to be an individual in a society differs greatly with each Dependent upon an author alienation can be considered a form of exclusion a self-imposed act or even the basis of a belief Within The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes the theme of alienation to characterize Hester Prynne She is set aside from the strict Puritan society which is increasingly captious to her every move Once she is put on the scaffold Hester loses her identity and becomes no more than her sin and her letter The use of the A is a tremendous symbol of alienation which is not often seen rather than implied by an author This usage of a visual alienation is affective in conveying the demeaning nature of alienation Hawthorne describes the abrupt change in Hesters identity in stating It was whispered by those who peered after her that the scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passage-way of the interiorHawthorne 65 It is evident that the townspeople no longer feel that Hester is worthy of being accepted by society but she is forced to live as a letter of shame Although alienation in this case is imposed by a society it can also be conveyed as a self-imposed way of life Self-alienation is very much an idea that has become associated with Transcendentalist thought Henry David Thoreau is a Transcendentalist
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