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Word Count: 1,231
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a novel set in the 17th century Puritan Massachusetts The novel follows Hester Prynne as she undergoes her punishment for committing adultery against her husband Roger Chillingworth who was in England for a long period of time It is slowly revealed during the course of the story that the father of Hesters daughter Pearl is the highly respected Reverend Dimmesdale Two of the most important settings in the Scarlet Letter are the forest and the scaffold in the center of town The scaffold represents the harsh judgment of Puritan society in contrast to the welcoming and hospitable forestThe scaffold in the town center symbolizes the harsh judgments in Puritan society Puritan culture exhibits an unforgiving policy for those who do not do what Puritanism says is right and holy The scaffold is a place in the Scarlet Letter in which Puritan punishment takes its course through the scorn that the townspeople provide to the victim on the pillory During Hesters first encounter with the pillory just after she is released from prison bearing the scarlet A her reception by the townspeople is defined as Meagre indeed and cold was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for from such bystanders at the scaffold On the other hand a penalty which in our days would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself Hawthorne 47 The words meagre cold and sympathy represent the insufficiency of the townspeoples empathy towards Hester as well as the cruel and unforgiving nature in which they proceeded to treat Hester with Bystanders shows a people who were able to make Hesters life a little less painful by helping her in a time when she had no one to help her but they instead decided to stand back and allow her torture to continue The word penalty indicates that
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