Mary, the mother of Jesus, relates to the novel by being a contrast to Hector Prynne. In the book, it says Hester Prynne was compared to Divine Maternity. Divine Maternity is an alternate translation for Mary. In the book it said, "...so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity...". This creates a comparison between Hester and Mary. The irony of their differences is that while Mary (Divine Maternity) represented goodness and purity, Hester Prynne committed a great sin that cost her misery for a long period of her life.
Christiana, I can see how Hester (not Hector) is a contrast with Mary. Hester was a sinner. Mary was a saint. However, wasn't Hester's sin later on implied to be an act of love, not an act of evil. Therefore, the sin she made was only evil toward Puritan socirty. To the reader, on the other hand...
In the Bible, the cause of the fall of mankind was due to the crimes committed by Adam and Eve. Satan, who was portrayed as a serpent, convinces Eve to consume the fruit from which the the tree of knowledge of good and evil and share it with Adam. That was the only act that God forbade to happen within the Garden of Eden. Soon after eating the fruit, Adam and Eve experience shame and were banished immediately from the paradise. Historians believed the fruit that the tree made, the apple, represented intercourse. Since that was the first crime of sin, the crime of adultery was greatly exaggerated in puritan society. It was one of the more looked-down-upon sin, therefore the punishment was far more intense. Hester Prynne is Eve and Mr. Dimmesdale is Adam. Hester cheated on her husband and held a relationship with Dimmesdale and they were both "banished" from society. Hester was made an outcast and was forced to wear the scarlet letter "A" upon her bosom and was humiliated. Dimmesdale did not receive punishments for his crime, but he still suffered. He felt ashamed and guilty. Although he escaped the humiliation that Hester had to endure, he believed that he was also wearing the scarlet letter "A" on his chest.
The quote, "down upon these forest leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful! This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?" relates to baptism. This is when Mr. Dimmesdale is very excited because he, Hester, and Pearl are going to leave to England. In the quote, Mr. Dimmesdale is saying that his sin was so immense that he wouldn't feel joy again. Luckily, Hester was there to comfort him and encourages Mr. Dimmesdale. Also, this quote suggests that Mr. Dimmesdale feels like a new person and it's as if his sin had been gone. Baptism is when you want to cleanse all the sin you have committed. A priest or pastor uses a variety of methods to baptize others. In baptism, priests and pastors use water to cleanse the sin. So, after you have been baptized, you feel like a new person because all of the sin you committed in the past have been erased.
In The Scarlet Letter, the quote, "she named the infant 'Pearl,' as of being great price, --purchased with all she had,-- her mother's only treasure!" Is an allusion to Pearl's name. It relates to The Parable of the Pearl. This merchant found this beautiful, great pearl. As a great price, this merchant sold all the things he had to attain this great pearl. As for Hester's "price," she is sinned for adultery and has to wear an "A" for punishment. Because of this sin Hester is secluded from society. So Hester gave up a regular life to have Pearl. Which in Hester's eyes Pearl is of great price and her treasure.
Lynelle, I agree with your response on baptism. This quote, "down upon these forest leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful!.." is descriptive in defining baptism. I like how you used the whole quote and referred it to the actual story, the reality. For example, when Dimmesdale said , " This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?" you expressed his feelings of rebirth, hope, and joy for his future. Great job!
(@Irina)I really agree with you because Hester was publicly shamed and all the other citizens tried to stay away from her. Even those she tried to help weren’t thankful of her due to her scarlet letter and how Pearl came to this world. Hester had really given up everything she had to have Pearl.
Elizabeth, I like how you chose to link the story to the parable of the pearl, but I think should elaborate on the parable of the pearl and tell us more of how it connects. I don't think a lot of people know what the parable of the pearl is.
Lynelle, I think you connected the biblical reference really well to the novel. I agree with you that the quote you chose represents baptism and that it also represents the cleansing of his sins
Chritiana Nweke, I agree on your comparision between Hester Pyrnne as the Divine Maternity. I also find it ironic how Hester is portrayed as the Divine Maternity, yet Hester has committed the worse crime in her Puritan community.
"The Parable of the Hidden Treasure" and "The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price"... The character Pearl is a direct reference to each of these passages.In both passages, someone exchanges the entirety of his belongings for something; a plot of land in "The Parable of the Hidden Treasure" and a valuable Pearl in "The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price". Although Hester did not give up absolutely everything she had for Pearl, she did have to sacrifice her most valuable belonging, which was her integrity.In the former passage, the treasure-hunting man purchased the field out of joy, wanting to find the treasure buried within the land. Hester was not obliged to keep Pearl; in fact, the government later wanted to take Pearl away from her, but Hester wanted to keep Pearl, out of joy and love.The aptly named "Pearl of Great Price" in the latter passage is a pearl that is a symbol for value (Pearls were far more valuable in that time period). In The Scarlet Letter, Hester sacrifices, or "pays", her most valuable "treasure" for the existence of Pearl, just like how the hypothetical pearl-seeking merchant in the passage had sold everything for something of value to him.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is compared to the Mary, the mother of Jesus. Hester walks out of prison, and ascends the stairs of the scaffold, her baby in her arms, and she is described as never having appeared so ladylike or so beautiful, in this moment of utter shame and humiliation. The narrator compares her appearance to the image of the Divine Maternity. It is a symbolic, yet horribly ironic comparison—Hester, the adulteress, condemned to bear the burden of her sin in the form of her child and the scarlet letter upon her chest, and Mary, the virgin mother of the messiah. The two seem to be polar opposites, and yet, they are alike. Both were ordinary women, who suddenly are defined by their respective children, and in Hester’s case, also her sin. Hester is the woman who committed adultery, and produced a sinful child. Mary is the woman who conceived the Christ child, the savior. Also, the shame surrounding Hester suggests an echo of the uncertainty surrounding the circumstances of Jesus’s birth—when Mary appeared to be pregnant before she and Joseph had engaged in intercourse, Joseph was advised to divorce her secretly, as the child could not have possibly been his, by all logic—and both women hold their heads high through rumor and scandal.
Alex, good job on the Biblical reference of the Parable of the Field and the Pearl. However, there is a small mistake in your story. The man in the story of the Field did not buy the field hoping to find the treasure. Actually, he had found it, reburied it, and then sold all his possessions to buy the field. Also, you forgot to mention that Hester is not only loved or finds joy in Pearl, but is also constantly punished by her. Aside from this, great job.
@Alice Wei, I agree with your statement that Hester is compared to the Virgin Mary. I like how you explained how they could be conceived as polar opposites, but are actually similar. I also agree that both Mary and Hester were strong women who endured a time most people couldn't. I enjoyed reading your analysis, it had good depth.
The name pearl relates to the bible verses of Matthew 13:44-46 in the New King James Version. In verse 44, it quotes, "Again, the kingdom is like treasure hidden in a field... sells all that he has and buys that field." With this, it talks about the desire that mankind has, just like that desire that Hester had towards Dimmesdale. However, that comes with a great price, as described in verses 45 and 46 which quotes, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Although the "merchant" in these verses have the choice to sell everything once he found the pearl, Hester gave up her life in creation of the "pearls." Just like the merchant, she had a choice, to sleep with Dimmesdale or not. However, she was driven by attraction, and her inner desires took over, then slept with him and "sold" her life away. The baby's name is then Pearl in reference to these verses and how just like the merchant, Hester has "sold" her life and "bought" Pearl.
Alice, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comparison with Hester and the Virgin Mary. I couldn't have been more clear with how they represented each other, but at the same time, were totally different. Its ironic how Pearl, the daughter of an adulterer could be compared so similarly to Jesus, the son of Mother Mary. You did a wonderful job!
The biblical story of the Garden of Eden was about Adam and Eve who were expelled from the Garden of Eden because they both ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God told them not to. Because of their knowledge, Adam and Eve were aware of their humanness. After they got expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were forced to procreate as a punishment. This biblical story relates to Heater and Dimmesdale because both of their sins resulted in suffering, expulsion, and knowledge. The Puritans sought sin as a threat to society which should quickly be punished and suppressed. For Hester's sin, they embarrassed her and made her wear a scarlet letter. She also was isolated from the rest of town. As for knowledge, it let Hester and Dimmesdale know what it meant to be human. Hester speculated her community and herself more than anyone else in New England. Hester and Dimmesdale contemplated their sin everyday. The scarlet letter and Pearl served as a reminder of the sin. They both try to reconcile the sin with their lived experiences. Hester and Dimmesdale's experience showed that a state of sinfulness could lead to personal knowledge, sympathy, and understanding of others.
In chapter 18, after the decision was made that Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale were to move to Europe, Dimmesdale cries, “I seem to have flung myself—sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened—down upon these forest-leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful!” This quote is a very explicit reference to the Christian ritual of baptism, which is meant to illustrate the washing away of one’s sins and is a way for the brand-new believer to publicly declare his faith in Christ. Dimmesdale has committed a hidden crime and is guilty in the eyes of God. In his sin and guilt, he is tormenting himself and is physically and mentally deteriorating. Unless someone intervenes, Dimmesdale is headed on a path towards destruction, similar to the path of everyone that is without salvation. This quote is indirectly implying that he is being baptized for his sins. The ceremony of baptism involves first submerging the participant in water, then lifting him or her out of the water. This act is symbolic of the spiritual state of the participant and life of Jesus Christ. The first half of the ceremony, the submergence of the participant, represents the death of his previous, sinful self, the “sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened” state that he was in, and also the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The second half of baptism is where the participant is lifted out of the water and is made a new believer. This embodies the spirit of Jesus was he was resurrected from the grave and the birth of Dimmesdale’s fresh, sanctified self. This is a pivotal point in the plot because it sets up the stage for the final scaffold scene.
Anita, I think you did a really good job on your analysis of the story of the Garden of Eden and how that compared to Hester and Dimmesdale. I agree with your comparison on how Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden and how Hester was "banished". I also liked how you said that Dimmesdale also suffered, even though he wasn't publicly humiliated. Great job!
Elizabeth, I totally agree with you in which Hester and Pearl link to the merchant and his acquired pearl. Although, I think that you should have pointed out that Hawthorne specifically used this as an allusion to show the similarities between the story of the merchant within the Bible and Hester and Pearl.
In the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, the narrator describes Chillingsworth as a serpent. The serpent is a biblical reference to the story of the Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The story of the two first humans alive tells of how, towards the end of the story, Eve is tricked by the serpent, who is obviously shown as a sly and evil creature, and eats the forbidden fruit of which God specifically tells Eve not to eat. The narrator makes the reference to the serpent in order to show how similar the two are really similar in terms of characteristics. Chillingsworth, throughout the story, is shown as a sly and evil being who continues to torture Dimmesdale without being detected at all. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent successfully persuades and tricks Eden into eating the apple without any trouble. These two obviously share the characteristics of being sly and evil.
The practice of baptism is done to purify and cleanse a person of all their sins. Throughout the story we know that Dimmesdale is very sinful because he has yet to confess and join his Hester in punishment. While in the forest with Hester, the two decide to leave the town together so that they may all live in peace and without judgment together. Dimmesdale is so overcome with joy he cries, “Do I feel joy again? Methought the germ of it was dead in me! O Hester, thou art my better angel! I seem to have flung myself—sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened—down upon these forest-leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful! This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?” Dimmesdale says that he “have flung myself—sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened—down upon these forest-leaves, and to have risen up all made anew.” This is a direct reference to baptism. The forest-leaves are like the holy water that purifies the people of their sins. By saying he had “risen up all made anew” Dimmesdale shows us how he feels like a transformed person after the weight of his sin had caused him to suffer for so long.
Good job in making the connection between the serpent and Chillingworth Emily, but I would have mentioned the part in the Scarlet Letter when Chillingworth and Hester converse with each other and Chillingworth mentions that he was the one who tempted her into commiting the crime because he did not keep close watch on her.