In the "Custom House," written as an introduction to The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne gives an autobiographical description of his life and times. The detailed descriptions of the scenes and people not only prepare the reader for the author's style, but also aim at recreating the author's past. The preface concentrates on the author's period of service at the Custom House during which time he came into contact with several people and had the opportunity to study human behavior. The description of his co- employees and others shows the author's deft hand at characterization, which is revealed during the novel. Further, the preface serves the purpose of giving a background to the novel and introduces America's Puritanical ancestors. Through the novel, by taking a favorable view of Hester and Dimmesdale and by drawing Chillingworth in evil proportions, Hawthorne attempts to undo the wrong and injustice done by his ancestors. The reference to the discovery of the scarlet letter and some papers referring to the incident of a woman condemned like Hester is to strengthen the author's claim of the authenticity of the story. Passage I, by Frank Conroy, and passage II, by William Maxwell, are works of literature that deal with the nature of boyhood friendships. Both passages convey to the reader an idea that boyhood friendships are unbiased and are merely based on the fact that young boys appreciate the presence of other boys. The author conveys this idea through the use of figurative language and uses a very simple, innocent tone. Both passages discuss the nature of boyhood friendships and reveal that boyhood friendships occur just because boys are present near each other and are not based on anything else such as class or background. In passage I, the author reveals that one boy named Frank makes a friendship...
pages: 3 (words: 706)
Several chapters in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne are critical to the shaping of the story. Hester Prynne is an extreme sinner in the eyes of Puritan society in the 1640s; she has gone against the Bible, committing adultery. Hester is forced to live on the dirty outskirts of Boston. For committing the sin of adultery, Hester is forced to wear a scarlet letter, "A" for adultery. Hester stood alone in her sin, the father of her child, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale refused to confess. Hester's husband, Roger Chillingsworth came back to Boston and found Hester with her baby Pearl. Eventually Dimmesdale confessed to his mutual sin and died. Many chapters in the book play essential roles. Three of these chapters in The Crucible shape the book and how the characters interact. These chapters are XV, XVIII, and XXIII, respectively. In a naïve blur, Hester married Chillingsworth, and she resents him for allowing the marriage to happen. In chapter XV, Hester realizes that she hates her husband, Roger Chillingsworth; her only happiness came from earlier delusion. Hester finds Pearl in a tide pool pretending to be a mermaid, but one thing throws Hester off- Pearl has an "A" on her chest made of grass. Pearl wants Hester to ask her what is it, and Hester talks to Pearl about the "A", but since Pearl is so young, she cannot fully grasp adultery, sex, and shame, but she understands that the "A" is something her mother has always had. Pearl also makes the connection between the "A" on her mother's chest, and Dimmesdale always grabbing at his heart. For the next few days, Pearl consistently asks her mother about the letter and why Dimmesdale is always clutching his heart. The easiest explanation Hester is able to give Pearl is that she...
pages: 4 (words: 860)
Roger Chillingworth Roger Chillingworth in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, a revolutionary man. His views on topics such as medicine are influenced by the natives which whom he lived with. These ideas, which are frowned upon by the Puritan society, begin to control his life. Chillingworth slowly progresses from an old, wise, physician, to a malevolent monster. Physically, he becomes more bent over while at the same time he also becomes more conniving in his thoughts. Chillingworth's entire purpose for staying in town changes as he learns more about the father of Pearl. Chillingworth becomes contagious in a sense because the more time he spends with Arthur Dimmesdale, the more Dimmesdale begins to start to rot as well. The townspeople agree that Roger Chillingworth is no good, and that he is truly from the devil. Roger Chillingworth certainly changes and differs from the rest of society intellectually, mentally, and physically. The reader's first image that they have of Chillingworth is with an Indian. Indians were considered savages and the Christians believed them to be from the devil because they connected themselves with nature. Coincidentally, Chillingworth uses many herbal ingredients in his remedies, including the ones which he gives Hester and Pearl when he goes to visit them in prison when he first arrives in town. "My old studies in alchemy, and my sojourn, for above a year past, among a people well versed in kindly properties of simples, have made a better physician of me than many that claim the medical degree," (67), he told Hester. Chillingworth and his medical ideas are certainly different than the typical thoughts of the townspeople. Not only did Chillingworth exemplify a differentiation in his medical beliefs by collecting herbs and ingredients from the earth, but also in his theory of genetics. When Hester and...
pages: 6 (words: 1431)
The character this paper is analyzing is reverend Dimmesdale, because through out the story reverend Dimmesdale made some dramatic changes in his life. In the beginning of the story, Reverend Dimmesdale was a quiet but great man, adored by others and worshiped by many. Toward the middle and the end of the story Reverend Dimmesdale changed as each chapter went on. Reverend Dimmesdale was killing slowly by keeping something within him that make him feel guilt and anguish each and everyday. By Reverend Dimmesdale keeping something within, he felt extremely guilty and not functioning to his full potential, isolating himself did not do any better, as a matter of fact, isolating himself from the rest of the world began to eat away his feelings. Everybody in Salem looked up to and idolized lost his dignity and the trust of the people in the town in due time. Before Reverend Dimmesdale even had problems or stress and anguish, Reverend Dimmesdale preached to the people of Salem with all of his heart and might. Reverend Dimmesdale was a person you could talk to for the first time and you know you just made a new companion. Reverend Dimmesdale was a very honorable man filled with a preacher's faith. The perspective that I had was he was one of the main characters or an important secondary character. Even though he kept his secret within himself, somebody close to him found out what was wrong with Reverend Dimmesdale and is going to use that to his advantage to torture and torment Reverend Dimmesdale. Mr. Chillingworth, Reverend Dimmesdale's personal companion within his quarters found out by opening his shirt and finding an "A" carved into Reverend Dimmesdale's chest, an "A" across the chest in these days usually meant that somebody committed a sin or something...
pages: 2 (words: 530)
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is an exceptional novel based on sin, forgiveness, and deception. Hester, the main character, has committed the sin of adultery to an unknown man. She lives in Boston and is a puritan, which does not accept sin and lives by the strict, Puritan code. Hester's sin is unveiled when she bears a child by the name of Pearl and has no husband at that time. Hester punishment is not death because her husband is gone, and temptation over ran her heart. Throughout the novel, the author uses symbols to entertain the reader and help explain the story. Many symbols come from settings such as, the scaffold scenes, the forest, and the light and darkness from the sun. The scaffold scenes contain many symbols that prove to be essential to the novel. The definition of scaffold is a platform used for the execution of a criminal. Ironically, this is a puritan village, which in turn should not need a scaffold because of faith and love. The scaffold, in this novel, is a platform used for redemption and a symbol of the stern Puritan code. "It was, in short, the platform of the pillory; and above it rose the framework of that instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze." (Hawthorne 51) Hester's punishment for her sin of adultery is to wear the letter "A" on her bosom and stand on the scaffold in front of the whole town to see her and her child. By using the scaffold as place where Hester's forgiven and repented, the author symbolizes how important the scaffold is to the novel. Because Hester had to stand on the scaffold for repentance so must...
pages: 4 (words: 942)
Who should bear the stigma of sin? Hawthorne's novel is a story of adultery, social judgment, and moral redemption. Hester cannot hide the consequences of her mistake, so she is exposed to public judgment and forced to wear the scarlet letter. However, it is Dimmesdale's guilty conscience and struggle to rise above the sin that makes the essence of the narrative. The argument for Dimmesdale as a protagonist lies in the answers to the following questions. Does Dimmesdale's character change throughout the story? Does he have an antagonist and a helper? Do his actions bring about the climax of the story? Finally, does he solve the problem? Hawthorne uses character development to show how a person can change. A well-developed character stirs emotions in the reader to make a powerful story. All three main characters, Hester, Chillingworth and Dimmesdale undergo changes that mark the development of events. However, it is Dimmesdale who changes the most. The reason for his change is the sin he commits with Hester. At the beginning of the book, we meet a young and self-confident minister who is trusted by the townspeople, as their moral and religious leader, "So powerful seemed the minister's appeal…" (74). As the story progresses we see Dimmesdale become weaker physically, due to his moral torment ", who's health had severly suffered" (119). In Chapter 8, we see him through Hester's eyes, as a man who "Looked now more careworn and emanciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester's public ignominy: and wether it were his failing health, or whatever the cause might be, his large dark eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth" (124). For a large part of the novel Dimmesdale becomes both, very sick physically and mentally, as a result of...
pages: 5 (words: 1345)
In the Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, does Pearl have preternatural knowledge of the symbolism of the letter and what the characters truly represent? Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a novel about the guilt of sin in a Puritanical society and how sometimes it is better to face your mistakes and admit them than to hide them and suffer inside. The result of sin can often produce something beautiful. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are the sinners in this book. They commit adultery and bring a child into the world. That child is Pearl. Pearl is a beautiful and stunning girl. Everywhere she goes the attention is on her. There is nothing sinful about her except that she was bred from sin. Puritan society considers adultery a serious charge. It was easy for Hester to be labeled as an adulterer because she was pregnant without a husband to be the father. However, Hester refused to reveal who the father was, so Dimmesdale dealt with his sin personally instead of publicly. What everyone does not know is that Hester's husband, who was long forgotten and thought to be dead, is in Boston is manipulating Dimmesdale with evil and black magic. Pearl is the bright star in this miserable life that Hester has to deal with. Pearl encompasses the beauty and free-spirit that Hester once had. She is a wild, uncontained child who does not feel any of the pressures of Puritan society. There is something special about her, particularly in her behavior. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Pearl displays preternatural knowledge of subjects that she has never been informed about, like whom Dimmesdale and Chillingworth really are, and why Hester wears the scarlet letter. Reverend Dimmesdale keeps as much distance as possible from Hester and Pearl throughout most of the book....
pages: 7 (words: 1712)
Hester Prynne, the Scarlet Letter's protagonist is a huge sinner and adulteress. Throughout the novel, she must carry the weight of her sin by wearing the letter "A" on her chest. As a result of this letter, the town's people looked down on her, and think of her as a wretched, and arrogant woman. The people believed that the magistrates were too merciful on her, and thought that, a woman so wicked and scandalous as her should suffer a more severe punishment than the one enforced on her. The women gossiping outside the jailhouse concurred that, Hester, "had brought shame upon [them] all, and ought to die"(Hawthorne 60). When Hester walked out onto the scaffold, she was cast wicked glances from her fellow town members. They glared at the letter on her breast, and stared at the illegitimate child in her arms. This public shame was not severe enough a punishment for this wretched woman, in the eyes of the town folk. Any other form of torture, or penalty would not have been too harsh in the eyes of the community, for this woman was a huge sinner, and deserved the worst sentence possible. After Hester had served her jail time, she was released. After being released, she took her child with her and lived in a cottage on the outskirts of town, becoming isolated from her community. In order to support both herself and her child, she took up the craft of needlework. Her work being beautiful and fit for the governor was required for making christening gowns, and the robes of high officials. Hester Prynne's needlework was chance for repentance; she made garments for the poor, and reached out to society and contributed however she could. Never the less, the people still shunned her, refused to acknowledge her...
pages: 3 (words: 673)
Nathaniel Hawthorne's revolutionary novel, The Scarlet Letter, was written in the time where there were no exceptions; either one was holy and abided the law, or one was a sinner, condemned by all. In that time, life was centered around an impermeable Puritan society, in which secrets and innermost thoughts were to be kept inside the self. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of the story, tries to cope with the guilt that the town puts her through because of her sin. The other main characters of the story have to deal with their sins as well. Throughout the duration of the novel, the use of literary elements, such as motivation and conflict, form the foundation of the characters, as well as, the book itself, which creates a pillar of magnificence. The motivation of the characters, the things that drive them, plays a key role in the development of the novel. First of all, Hester is motivated to live a life of purity by the love for her daughter. Hester begins to notice that Pearl acts like a little imp, or "a demon offspring," so she makes sure to acts good and holy around Pearl. Hester Prynne also begins to raise Pearl through Christ, teaching her all she knows about Christianity, and taking her to Mass regularly. Next, Roger Chillingworth is motivated to track down and keep Reverend Dimmesdale in his grasp, by the fact that Dimmesdale seduced Hester to committing adultery. He does not, though, want revenge on Hester because she has already served her time by wearing the scarlet 'A' and being imprisoned. His actual sin is putting the matters into his own hands, when God should be the only one to judge people for their actions. In conclusion, the motivation of the characters is important to the novel because...
pages: 3 (words: 559)
Hester Prynne is a very well recognized character in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. She is a character about whom much gas been written such as, Toward Hester Prynn, by David Reynolds, and The Scarlet A, Aboriginal and Awesome, by Kristin Herzog. Reynold's essay dealt with Hester as a heroine, who is an artistic combination of disparate female types. Herzog's essay dealt with the idea that Hester is both wild and passionate, as well as, caring, conservative, and alien. Towards Hester Prynne, by David Reynolds, expressed Hester as a heroine composed of many different stereotypes of females from the time period Hawthorne was writing. Hawthorne created some of the most skeptical and politically uncommitted characters in pre-civil war history. Reynolds went on to say, His [Hawthorne's] career illustrates the success of an especially responsive author in gathering together disparate female types and recombining them artistically so that they become crucial elements of the rhetorical and artistic construct of his fiction (Reynolds 179). Hawthorne used ironies of fallen women and female criminals to achieve the perfect combination of different types of heroines. His heroines are equipped to expel wrongs against their sex bringing about an awareness of both the rights and wrongs of women. Hester is a compound of many popular stereotypes rich in the thoughts of the time ...portrayed as a fallen woman whose honest sinfulness is found preferable to the future corruption of the reverend (Reynolds 183). Hester was described by Reynolds as a feminist criminal bound in an iron link of mutual crime (Reynolds 183). According to Reynolds, Hawthorne was trying to have his culture's darkest stereotypes absorbed into the character of Hester and rescue them from noisy politics by reinterpreting them in Puritan terms and fusing them with the moral exemplar. Kristin Herzog had a somewhat...
pages: 3 (words: 677)
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Mr. Dimmesdale's greatest fear is that the townspeople will find out about his sin of adultery with Hester Prynne. Mr. Dimmesdale fears that his soul could not take the shame of such a disclosure, as he is an important moral figure in society. However, in not confessing his sin to the public, he suffers through the guilt of his sin, a pain which is exacerbated by the tortures of Roger Chillingworth. Though he consistently chooses guilt over shame, Mr. Dimmesdale goes through a much more painful experience than Hester, who endured the public shame of the scarlet letter. Mr. Dimmesdale's guilt is much more damaging to his soul than any shame that he might have endured. When the reader first meets Roger Chillingworth standing watching Hester on the scaffold, he says that he wishes the father could be on the scaffold with her. "'It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side" (46). At this point, Chillingworth wishes that Mr. Dimmesdale was also receiving the sort of shame Hester is being put through. Throughout the first few chapters of the novel, however, Chillingworth's motives become more and more malicious. By the time Chillingworth meets Hester in her prison cell, he has decided to go after Mr. Dimmesdale's soul. Chillingworth turns to this goal because Mr. Dimmesdale did not endure Hester's shame on the scaffold. Had Mr. Dimmesdale chosen to reveal himself at the time of Hester's shame, he would not have had to endure the pain of Roger Chillingworth's tortures of his soul. When Mr. Dimmesdale finally confesses to the townspeople in the last hour of his life, he reveals what many saw to be a red A on his chest. Whether...
pages: 4 (words: 1043)
How can we as a society differentiate what is to be deemed morally wrong, biblically sinful, or passionately blissful? No matter what we decide for our own predicaments, it is of no place for our peers or community to make the choice for us. Everyday through radio, magazines, and television, we hear of scandals and celebrity breakups- gossip about other people's lives, none of which pertains to our own. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne created many characters, all of which went through this very suffering, but carried out their situations in a variety of ways. The characters in the novel, Hester Prynne; the father of her illegitimate child, Reverend Mr. Arthur Dimmesdale; and Mistress Prynne's estranged husband, Roger Chillingworth, live their Puritan lifestyle while being persecuted tremendously. One of these characters was publicly humiliated to be set an example of and as given punishment. Another spent years with a pain, self-inflicted, from having to bear the guilt and shame of committing a "sinful" act with said mistress. And the third, unknowingly, self-destructed his body inside and out with the lust of getting revenge from the first two. Why must we do these things to not only ourselves, but to our neighbors as well? Does life really get to the point where we feel the need to drag others down with us? As they say, misery does love company. In the beginning of Hawthorne's novel, he tells us of Hester Prynne, the protagonist of the story, and the life she has been living. Hester had been put in jail for committing adultery and was imprisoned along with her unborn child. She had been previously married to Roger Chillingworth, a man whom had yet to be seen by not only his wife, but also the entire town of Boston, in years....
pages: 5 (words: 1319)
Secrets In The Scarlet Liars, hypocrites, frauds, cheaters, adulterers, imposters, sinners, and gossipers, no one would ever suspect these types of people live in the perfect Puritan town of Boston. At first glance Boston seems as if it's a city set on a hill because everyone is so righteous and religious. It seems like everyone in the town is perfect besides Hester. She is criticized and looked down on because she has a scarlet letter "A" on her chest. Even though Hester is the only one with a visible scarlet letter, many other hypocritical citizens deserve scarlet letters on their chests for something or another. For example, Roger Chillingworth should have worn a letter "K" on his chest for kleptomaniac because he is constantly trying to steal Reverend Dimmesdale's life away. He is so obsessed with ruining his life it seems like he has a mental disorder. The first signs of Roger's kleptomaniac behavior were first recognized when some citizens noticed something ugly and evil taking over his face. Roger is constantly with Reverend Dimmesdale wherever he goes; its like they are attached at the hip. First he tries to become friends with the Reverend and then he begins to pry into him like a bloodthirsty leech. Rogers pesters him all the time with questions about guilt and confession that eat away at Dimmesdale. Hawthorne says, for example, he digs into the poor clergyman's heart, "like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave"(Hawthorne 117). He is constantly trying to convince to Dimmesdale to confess and would dig to a dead man's grave to find any information about him. Roger's digging evolves into a "fierce and terrible fascination" as he becomes more and more obsessed with exposing his secret; it eventually takes over his...
pages: 4 (words: 888)
Throughout all forms of literature, the author will often provide situations and characters, each which can contain a strong symbolic meaning. Symbolism allows a character to be expressed as almost anything. Through the symbolism of a single character, any type of character trait, story, or way of life can be told. Also, a character can represent a strong and demanding feeling. One of these feelings is that of revenge, a controlling obsession possessed by a character. It is a problem that may lead to feelings or acts of sin and evil. The actions, feelings, thoughts, and looks of one character may symbolize that chain of evil and sin, including the root of all evil. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, symbolism is used throughout the novel to describe the character Roger Chillingworth's acts of revenge, representing sin and evil, including the devil, which lead to the decomposition of his character. Near the beginning of the novel, as Roger Chillingworth first appears as a character, his symbolic relationship with the devil and sin is first apparent. Roger Chillingworth first appears as a stranger of the new colony. After being held captive by Indians after he was shipwrecked a year before, he learns of Hester's sin. Shortly after, the symbolic relationship between Chillingworth and the devil is first shown in Chapter 4, where he disguises himself as a physician, and provides a new identity for himself as Roger Chillingworth. "…said Old Roger Chillingworth, as he was hereafter to be named." Pg. 81 "The Stranger entered the room with the characteristic quietude of the profession to which he announced himself as belonging." Pg. 76. After changing his name to Roger Chillingworth, and labeling himself as a great physician, he is able to deceive the colony. This may relate to the devil in the...
pages: 4 (words: 1093)
Films of this age are often criticized for lacking 'substance' and compensate for this discrepancy with explosions and elaborate camera work. Books, on the other hand, demand a bit more respect from the general public. Many believe that concocting a script is an unsophisticated mode of writing, a copper to the gold of a novel. After careful scrutiny of both, the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and viewing the rendition of the Scarlet Letter by Roland Joffe, one can immediately comprehend the enormous amount of work put into both, as well as the innumerable differences and similarities between them. It is easy enough to discern the common and uncommon features but one must think of why the filmmaker may have used a specific lighting, or how colors were used to symbolize themes from the book. Analysis answers the questions: How did the two differ? How were they the same? Why did the filmmaker make these decisions? The film is freely adapted from the novel. The word "free" describing the modification is well used; there are major differences in regard to time usage, characterization, visual imagery and symbolism, narration, plot, and tone. The first hour of the movie was devoted to informing the viewer about the background. The film was set in motion when Hester arrived in the New World, not at the grim prison door she passed through on her way to the scaffold in the novel. Many characters not included in the novel were inserted into the film, several of whom were pivotal to the plot. Mituba, Hester's introverted slave girl, Brewster, the coarse, undisciplined rule-breaker, Goody Gotwick, the mouthpiece of the community's "pious women," and Minister Cheever, the influential church leader who attempted to serve as the judge of the community's morals did not exist in...
pages: 11 (words: 2830)
Significance of Pearl's Behavior in the "Scarlet Letter" Pearl's behavior toward her mother and Reverend Dimmesdale is very unique to the storyline. Her behavior could be characterized as a chameleon where she is part of everything around her and the changes that occur externally affect her internally. Ever since Pearl was born she has been regarded as the reincarnation of her mothers sin. The community thinks of her just like they think of the scarlet letter on her mother. Pearls archetype would definitely be one of an outcast and even in her own way a loser of innocence. Growing up Hester thinks that Pearl is a constant reminder of her sin and feels very guilty which reflects on her innocent child. She constantly questions god about Pearls existence. She even goes so far as to asking Pearl, "Child, what art thou?"[Pg 49] By doing this she is separating Pearl from society. Hester's feelings become even worst when she questions weather Pearls existence is only due to the Demon sending Pearl to make Hester suffer. Hester at one point even denies that Pearl is her daughter by saying, "Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl of mine!"[Pg 49] Pearls different behavior towards her mother is very odd. She gives her mother very little respect but only due to Hester fearing Pearl because of her inability to overcome her own guilty conscience. Then again Pearl also sticks up for her mother by throwing mud at the village kids for ridiculing her mother. Pearl keeps her mother in line, because without Pearl her mother would most likely live a life of evil in the forest. Pearls behavior towards Dimmesdale is very straightforward. She knows deep down that he is her father and even shows compassion towards him when he makes it...
pages: 3 (words: 582)
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a novel about adultery committed by young Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale in the Puritan world of seventeenth century Boston. Even though, they share the relationship of extremely opposing each other throughout the book, Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth, an alchemist, antagonist, and Hester's husband, are different and similar in appearance, respect, and how they change throughout the novel. Chillngworth and Dimmesdale come from very different backgrounds, but both are still respected and educated men. Chillingworth has "learning and intelligence and possess more than a common nature," because he is "extensively acquainted with the medieval science of the day" (pg.109). The colony believes that "Roger Chillingworth is a brilliant acquisition;" he is "an absolute miracle, Doctor of Physics, from a German University" (pg.111). Not many Puritan citizens in the colony possess a college education. The skills, that Chillingworth possesses makes "this learned stranger exemplary" and he is now "known to be a man of skill" (pg.111). On the other hand, "Reverend Dimmesdale; a young clergyman," who had come from a "great English University," and also possessed great skill" (pg.62). Dimmesdale "has eloquence and fervor," which gives him the "earnest of high eminence in his profession" of ministry (pg.62). Being a priest brings a degree of respect; Dimmesdale is believed to be a "true priest, a true religionist, 'a little less than an ordained apostle" (pg.113). The colony praises Dimmesdale and hopes he would "do as great deed...for the New England Church as early Fathers had achieved for the infancy of the Christian faith" (pg.110). Many changes occur in a person over time. Chillingworth and Dimmesdale both sin and are mentally distraught by their sins. Dimmesdale commits adultery with Chillingworth's wife; Chillingworth seeks vengeance and indirectly kill Dimmesdale. In the beginning of the novel,...
pages: 3 (words: 601)
Hester Prynne, the main character in the book The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a woman living in a Puritan society who has an illegitimate child. The story begins with her punishment for adultery. Hester is jailed and then forced to wear a scarlet 'A' on her clothing forever as a mark of her shame. The story continues to tell about her life in Puritan society trying to raise her daughter Pearl. Hawthorne was a member of the Transcendentalist movement that believed that divinity manifests itself in everyday life, especially in nature. The author uses these transcendental principals to add religious and symbolic meanings to many objects and places in the book. The most important symbol in the book is introduced in the first chapter. The scarlet letter 'A' that Hester was forced to wear came to mean many things throughout the book. The letter was meant to stand for adultery, and at the beginning of the story it exists as a physical reminder of the sin that she committed. Ultimately I think the scarlet 'A' ends up showing strength and character on the part of Hester. When a group of Native Americans visit the colony they think they letter is a sign of importance. The town elders at one point discuss letting her take off the letter but she feels differently thinking it is just punishment for her transgression. It is only after she and Dimmesdale decide to leave together that she feels released from her sin and can take it off. The character of Pearl is a complex one. She exists in the story as a living reminder of the sin that Hester committed and at the same time Pearl is also Hester's salvation. When Hester becomes completely ostracized from society Pearl is all that she has....
pages: 2 (words: 546)
Symbolism is the applied use of any iconic representations, which carry particular conventional meanings. Within The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne incorporates symbolism to expose a deeper meaning in the story. The first and most obvious symbol that Hawthorne displays is the embroidery of the letter "A" given to Hester to wear as a reminder to the town of her adultery. The second symbol is revealed in Chapter XII, when a meteor in the form of a letter "A" lights up the night sky. Finally, Hawthorne reveals symbolism in the scaffold, where many of the important plot points take place. The Letter "A" is a major form of symbolism within The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne establishes that Hester, the main character within the play, receives an embroidery of the letter "A" to mark her as an adulterer. The letter's meaning shifts as time passes. At first, the "A" is a symbol of shame, but as the story progresses, the shameful "A" becomes her powerful identity. The community started to form a different meaning for the scarlet letter: ability. In the thirteenth chapter, Hawthorne comes out in the third person and states, "The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, so much power to do, and power to sympathize, that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength. (134)" The letter's meaning clearly changes when the Native Americans come to watch the Election Day pageant, and think the "A" marks Hester as a person of importance. The scarlet letter, in conclusion, was ineffective and "had not done its office. (137)" While Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl in Chapter XII, a meteor outlines the letter...
pages: 3 (words: 656)
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the mid 19th century is considered "the first great American novel and Hawthorne's best work"(Thompson 312) The setting of the novel was in Boston in the 17th century, when Puritanism was in full effect. The author of the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne, changed his name from Hathorne to Hawthorne because he was ashamed that he was in direct line of decent of Judge Hathorne who had been one of the persecutors in the Salem witch trials. It was said by Keith Nelson, a writing critic, that Hawthorne's style of writing is contemporary, yet still old fashioned. It is contemporary because Hawthorne was fascinated by the truth, but the truth was not always recognizable. The way in which it is still old fashioned is that he wrote in moral allegory. In this style of writing, the author assigns a value to a particular character. It has a hidden meaning and is used to present a universal lesson. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester, Reverend Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Pearl all take on specific values which we can learn from. Hester Prynne takes on a role of dignity. She implies restraint in conduct prompted less by obedience to the theocracy she was under, but by a sense of personal integrity. We first find her walking through the townspeople with her baby in her arm up towards the scaffold because her punishment for committing adultery was to wear the "scarlet letter" for life and stand on the scaffold for three hours to make her feel ashamed. Instead of looking down and trying to cover the scarlet letter embroided on her bosom "she took the baby on her arm, and with a burning blush, and a haughty smile, and a glance around ….repaid them all with a bitter and...
pages: 6 (words: 1570)