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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold. (And with a side of fries. But isn't everything best served with a side of fries?) Roger Chillingworth seems to agree, as you can no doubt tell by the extremely...

Women and Femininity

Hester takes stand by your man seriously—so seriously that she stands by two men, keeping secrets not only for her secret lover but for her wacko husband, too. And it's a good thing that someone...

Compassion and Forgiveness

You hear about an awesome party happening in the Valley. Only problem is, if you go, you know you'll end up being at least half an hour late for your curfew. (Even though everywhere in L.A. takes t...

Sin

Face it: we've all made mistakes. (Even Shmoop.) But there's a difference between "Oops!... I Did It Again" and "He's a killer just for fun." Or is there? Not according to the townspeople and magis...

Hypocrisy

Everyday, Dimmesdale has to wake up and receive the adulation of his community for being basically a saint on earth. It's exhausting. But seriously, Dimmesdale is living a lie—and that is exhaust...

Guilt and Blame

Blame may be something one person does to another, but it takes a consciousness of wrong doing to feel guilty. And Hester feels plenty guilty. Also guilty? Dimmesdale. The one person in this messy...

Justice and Judgment

Some laws can straddle the religious/secular divide pretty comfortable. Stealing? We're pretty sure God wouldn't want you to do that. Murder? Definitely not. But what about driving without your lic...

Isolation

Puritan society in The Scarlet Letter seems just as judgmental and cruel as any school cafeteria. Make one tiny misstep—spill your food; show up to school wearing the wrong kind of backpack—and...

The Supernatural

Lots of crazy things go down in The Scarlet Letter—like eyes that glow red; meteors in the shape of an "A;" and witches who hang out with the Black Man in the woods. But this is more fable or fai...

Fate and Free Will

From the minute you wake up, your life is full of choices: get out of bed, or hit the snooze button? Use the cinnamon or the mint flavored toothpaste. Cereal or eggs for breakfast? Etc. But if you'...

Man and the Natural World

In The Scarlet Letter, all the good stuff goes down in the woods. Secret trysts? Head to the wood. Major confessions? Head to the wood. Need to gather some medicine that actually works? Yep, head t...
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