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Shaping Personal Identity in Hawthorne & Kingston

Yet near the novelĂs conclusion, in the second-to-last chapter entitled ˘The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter÷ Arthur Dimmesdale, the communityĂs previously well-respected clergyman, indicates the importance of their love and its betrayal. Dimmesdale indicates that in order for him to be saved, he needed to have the watchful eye of HestherĂs husband seeking him out and that he needed to be brought before the community and branded as a sinner (Hawthorne 173). With his expiring breath, he tells Hester, ˘Had either of these agonies been wanting, I had been lost for ever!÷ (Hawthorne 173). Curiously, Hawthorne shows Dimmesdale as following the conventional path even in his death. Dimmesdale cannot believe that he will be saved unless he suffers dreadfully. Hester is not as conventional in her own interpretation of her experience.

As Dimmesdale lays dying, Hester seems astonished that they shall not meet again (Hawthorne 173). It is as if she believes that the depth of their love has created a bond which should not be broken by life or death. Hester as a woman excluded from the community due to her sin cannot as easily allow its rules and values to be her own. As a clergyman, Dimmesdale has been invested in the community proper. This is a position of status and respectability which has been denied Hester from the start. Hawthorne al

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