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The Scarlet Letter : Exposition

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  1. Introduction
  2. Individualism
  3. Potential
  4. Perspective
  5. Conclusion
  6. Citation

America's Declaration of Independence gives all men an equal and unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness and this right cannot be usurped by any other principle unless the latter is governed by free will. However, because free will is subject to individual beliefs and happiness occurs in a state of conscious being, a person makes the choice to be happy or otherwise. By the same token, if a person can choose to be happy, he or she may choose to act on any other emotion, or any other aspect of life. The temporality of choice is what makes the constant transition of past to present, but when the same choice is made repeatedly, the only thing that moves is not life itself but rather the dull hands on one's biological clock. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's riveting novel The Scarlet Letter, each character is bound to his or her past in an attempt to find justice in what is already history.

[...] Alas, Prynne neglects to take that risk and consequently, her energy is spent on what she can't change?the past and what she did?while the future and what potential she has in store for it diminishes. She has ability, but she fails to put it to use. A similar tendency is evident in another character named Roger Chillingworth, the antagonist of the novel who seeks retribution on Dimmesdale for his affair with Prynne. Chillingworth is the husband of Prynne who arrives in Boston belatedly to find her on the scaffold and her very infidelity is what drives him to devote the rest of his life to torturing the young minister Dimmesdale. [...]


[...] In retrospect, the direction Dimmesdale always went in was toward death. From self-mutilation to letting his guilt and whatnot use up his energy, the only real thing Dimmesdale ever had control over in his life was his death. The rather linear progression toward it was only a result of his failure to see another way out of things. Perhaps the most extreme of all three, Roger Chillingworth has the narrowest point of view in that throughout the novel, he is relentless and holds steadfastly to what he believes. [...]


[...] However, though given the scarlet letter to wear for life, she is hindered by the symbol only for what it stands for, as the freedom to govern herself is undiminished. Pyrnne is sentenced to a lifetime of shame, but she is ?kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement? and is ?free to return to her birthplace, or to any other European but she chooses to stay and this choice allows her sin to haunt her for the rest of her life, but that's only if she is open to be reminded of the past, which she is (70). [...]

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