Gothic Conventions In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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Bhimani 1 Outline Prescribed Question: How does the text conform to, or deviate from, the conventions of a particular genre, and for what purpose? Text: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Thesis: In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne effectively conforms to the conventions of the gothic genre for the purpose of characterizing the Puritan society as oppressive, portraying the hypocrisy found within Puritan society and highlighting the consequences for not confessing sin. Point #1: Hawthorne effectively establishes a dark and gloomy atmosphere that adopts the conventions pertaining to the gothic genre by highlighting the oppressive nature of the Puritan society. • Use of dark imagery, and prison as a symbol of sin. • Juxtaposition of light and dark imagery Point #2: Hawthorne’s use of Mistress Hibbins, adds a supernatural element to the novel to display the hypocritical nature of the society. Mistress Hibbins is characterized as a witch who is the sister of Governor Bellingham. • Mistress Hibbens a witch shown in chapter 8. • The metaphorical representation of the society through Mistress Hibbins and her brother governor Bellingham Point #3: Through the presence of negative emotions catalyzing actions, Hawthorne, effectively illustrates the consequences for not confessing guilt while conforming to the gothic genre conventions. In the novel Dimmesdale had committed adultery as well, but fails to confess his sin in its entirety to the public until the
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