The Scarlet Letter: Public Life vs. Private Life
In the book, The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he is teaching that people act differently in the public than when they are alone privately. Ultimately this is not a good thing to do because being oneself is better and not to care what people think. In the book there are many actions that the characters do in the public, but then they are completely different when they were by themselves. If people act differently in one place, then the ones close to them will not know the true identity of the person that they have been close with.
When someone is out in public then they try to act like someone they are no and try to fit in with the popular people. Or in the case of The Scarlet Letter they try to keep their reputation up. For example Dimmesdale shows the most change from a private person to a public one in the whole book. But, when he is in the public he plays the role of the minister for the people. He acts like he doesn’t know Hester, and he is always worried about how people are going to feel when they find out what he did. This is a huge difference to when he is alone in his house or even with Hester. If he was not hiding his private feelings from the public, he would have had a much better ending. But then Dimmesdale realizes what he is doing to himself when he says, “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true” (Hawthorne 189). What this means is that no one can be one person when they are by themselves, and then be another when they are in the public. This is very ironic that Dimmesdale says this because Dimmesdale has been wearing two masks of himself from when Hester went up to the scaffold as her punishment.
On the flip side of the public life is the private side. When someone is alone by themselves they are allowed to act the way they want to without being...