The Scarlet Letter: Response to “The Nauseous Amour of a Puritan Pastor”

In the article “The Nauseous Amour of a Puritan Pastor” by Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Coxe claims that Hester Prynne is a sinful woman in the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I agree that Hester Prynne has done acts that prove her guilty .Hester Pyrnne commits adultery with a Puritan pastor and births a baby girl named Pearl. When charged guilty, Hester wears a scarlet letter on her chest. The scarlet letter serves as a burden, a physical symbol sewn on to her that represents her sin weighing her down.  Hester’s sin grows as she lies, digging herself deeper into a hole. No matter what she does, the sin (Scarlet Letter) is still attached to her, even when it is physically removed. Coxe writes about Hawethorne’s choice of creating the romance in the Scarlet Letter. Coxe decribes the romance as “the nauseous amour of a Puritan pastor, with a frail creature of his charge, whose mind is more represented as far debauched than her body.” Coxe makes a point that Hester’s mind is no more pure than what the Scarlet Letter respresents; she is a symbol of shame herself. Without the scarlet letter, she would still hold the same amount of sin.  In chapter 18 paragraph four, Hawethorne writes “And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired… there is still the ruined wall, and, near it, the stealthy tread of the foe that would win over again his unforgotten triumph”.  The lines supports the statement that Hester is a sinful woman. Even though Hester attempts to redeem herself by her kindness, the sin is heavier and weighs her down at the end. Her purity can be compared to the “ruined wall”; there is too much destruction to be rebuilt. Even if she was forgiven for what she did, her sin would still remain a painful memory. Hester’s sin has bottled inside of her, seeping into the pores of her soul.


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