The Scarlet Letter – Forgiveness

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter sheds an ironic light on Puritan hypocrisy and human tendency. Hester Prynn, guilty of adultery, is kind and humble. She does not expose Dimmesdale, who is blindly loved for his piety. The villagers mandate that Hester display her “A” for life, even though their faith necessitates repentance as well as forgiveness. Gandhi’s conversation invites students to consider whether Hester’s forgiveness allows her to redeem herself and others. Which characters “say,” and which “do” what they profess? What are the consequences of bitterness or lack of forgiveness? Students may answer the essential question in light of alternative decisions and outcomes. Yeah

Level: Secondary English/language arts

Subject Area: American literature

Author: Karina Isley

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