Sin and Pennance as seen in The Scarlet Letter

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Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways, committing adultery. For this irrevocably harsh sin, she must wear a symbol of shame for the rest of her life. "On the breast of her gown, in a fine red cloth surrounded by an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter 'A.'" Hester's scarlet "A" serves as a public symbol of …

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…more passionate and effective in his sermons and moral counsil to his congregation. Privately he is torn with self-hatred, and his body wastes away because of the remorse and knowing what only he and Hester know gnaws at his soul. He has not confessed, therefore he knows he can't begin his true penance, thus never being forgiven. He finally has the courage to do so at the hour of his death. Bibliography The Scarlet Letter