Formalist Symbolism In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Abstract: A formalist analysis focuses on the literary text to the exclusion of social, cultural or political reality outside of the text. A text is examined by the formalists as a complete world in itself. A close reading of the text, therefore, is the foundation of Formalist criticism. When we examine the text of The Scarlet Letter, it seems as if the novel has been written with great care and precision. Hawthorne seems to have woven the tapestry of the scarlet letter with utmost care leaving absolutely no loose ends. “The Custom House” section, which appears at the very beginning of the narrative, seems to have no link with the story at a cursory glance. However on a close reading, we find it beautifully bound up with the rest of the novel. Though different chapters seem to focus on a single character individually, they are unified because other characters have not been wholly ignored in these chapters. The three scaffold scenes provide unity to the narrative and the forest scenes form an important part of the story. The plot can be explained in terms of rising action, climax, crisis, falling action and conclusion. Hawthorne has also made use of the devices of irony, ambiguity and symbolism to make the narrative a unified whole. Keywords: Text, plot, structure, irony, ambiguity, symbolism.,exposition

The Scarlet Letter, written by the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, is an 1850 work of fiction. Set in 17th century Boston, it tells the story of
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