By punishing Hester with the scarlet letter, the Puritan community is doing what, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne?would it be: (a): being reasonable about their justice (b): following the...

By punishing Hester with the scarlet letter, the Puritan community is doing what, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne?

would it be:

(a): being reasonable about their justice

(b): following the principles of religious forgiveness

(c): proclaiming its own smug and judgmental self-richeousness

(d): being merciful by allowing Hester to stay in town

 

I personally thought it was "C," but that answer may seem biased.  But I'm almost positive it's not "D"

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As we look at The Scarlet Letter's opening chapters, I think your analysis is correct.  A quick look at each answer makes it clear.

a): being reasonable about their justice  -   there is nothing reasonable about standing on a scaffold with a baby while the townspeople stare and condemn and preach.

(b): following the principles of religious forgiveness  -   not even close.  There is no forgiveness in this town, except perhaps for the quiet-voiced young wife in the crowd.

(c): proclaiming its own smug and judgmental self-righteousness

(d): being merciful by allowing Hester to stay in town  -    Th punishment for her sin/crime is death, so I guess this is minimally true.  It still smacks of judgment, though.

So, the answer must be C.  Note all the commentary and condemnation of the crowd, particularly from the women.  (Perhaps they're a bit concerned that the unnamed father of this young child might possibly be their husband?)  She is soon to be the subject matter for the sermon (in the worst possible way, of course) and the scandalous talk of the town. 

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