To begin, Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes pathos throughout his writing to imprint the importance of individual conscience into the reader 's mind. Hawthorne begins the book by having the reader pity the main character, Hester Prynne, as she is a young, husbandless, mother in a society that shames her for her unfortunate circumstances: “haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon” (Hawthorne, 53). The consistent misfortune of Prynne evokes emotion in the reader and stresses the weight of her decisions. Prynne manages her way through such a hostile society -“Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly on your bosom” (Hawthorne, 188)- in a way that is metaphorically applicable to the real world, allowing the reader to truly connect and understand the character for who they are.
This shows how ungrateful and judgemental her society is. All things considered, through these many skills Hester accomplishes, the meaning of the scarlet letter, embroidered on her chest, changes in meaning from ‘adulterer’ to ‘able.’ This eventually leads to women looking up to her and going to her for advice. As a result, “the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too” (Hawthorne 257). Hester’s experiences living with society, as they looked down upon her, eventually changes the way society looks at people and the choices they make.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous American author from the antebellum period, notices the emphasis on individual freedoms in the works by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists during his residency in the Brook Farm’s community. In response to these ideas, Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter, a historical novel about Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s lives as they go through ignominy, penance, and deprecation from their Puritan community to express their strong love for each other. Their love, even though it is true, is not considered as holy nor pure because of Hester past marriage to Roger Chillingworth, and thus Hester gained the Scarlet Letter for being an adulterer. Hawthorne utilizes biblical allusions, such as the stories of
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the Scarlet letter to display the sin and indecency people see Hester as. The detail represents ,the deep beauty Hester has inside although most people do not see her as a beutiful women. The deep red is a representation of adultery which shows her being an oncast from society. The symbol of the letter “A” is repetitive throughout the novel and grows with Hester and overcomes this with time as people start to see her as a person again and not just a adulterer. Hester acknowledges her sin in her puritan faith but swears to secrecy on the father of Pearl.
Hawthorne uses many forms of rhetoric to portray his characters, but relies heavily on pathos in the instance of Hester Prynne. She’s a member of an inherently misogynistic society, and because she’s a woman, her every act is scrutinized. As punishment for her act of adultery, Hester is ordered to adorn her chest with a permanent scarlet letter. Although the audience is well aware of the atrocity of the sin she’s committed, Hawthorne’s writing sparks a feeling of empathy within the reader. Throughout the novel, the reader is exposed to several clear uses of pathos.
However, as you dig deeper, you will see Hawthorne’s true purpose for writing the novel. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses irony to criticize the Puritan ideals. Hester’s Scarlet “A” is used to show how imperfect the Puritans are. The narrator describes Hester’s scarlet letter when he says: “On the breast of her gown,
Symbolism Within The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne created symbolism throughout The Scarlet Letter in order to develop the theme throughout Hester’s life. Hester is portrayed as a sheltered soul, shunned from society due to her adulterous acts. The red A and her daughter, Pearl, are symbols of Hester’s shame which she bares proudly despite society's harsh judgements. Hawthorne is able to use symbolism to develop themes, characters, and analogies in the Scarlet Letter.
Throughout the novel, Hester is fraught by the Puritan society and her suffering is an effect of how evil society is. Hester continues to believe that the crime she committed was not wrong and she should not be punished for it. Her desire to protect and love Dimmesdale, turn her into a stronger person and become a heroine in the book. Although society still views her as a “naughty baggage” (Hawthorne 73) and is punished for her wrongdoing, Hester never thought to take revenge on them, yet she gives everything she has to the unfortunate and leaves herself with very little. She continues to stay positive no matter what society has for her.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, the protagonist, Hester Prynne is a Romantic Hero. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, we see Hester Prynne’s struggle in Colonial America after she is condemned by the Puritan society. She is sent to America by her husband, but he never returns, and Hester later conceives a child with the local minister. She is convicted with the crime of adultery, but refuses to identify the father, she is then forced to wear the Scarlet Letter. The novel captures her experience as she struggles to survive the guilt, sin, and revenge.
This shows that Hester does not necessarily need to worry about what the people of Boston think of her or how she needs to redeem herself in order to fit back into the society. When Hawthorne says “The angel and apostle of the coming revelation must be a woman, indeed, but lofty, pure, and beautiful; and wise, moreover, not through dusky grief, but the ethereal medium of joy; and showing how sacred love should make us happy, by the truest test of a life successful to such an end!” he is showing how there is no way for Hester to change her society. She should have love and joy, but instead she is faced with guilt, which leads to her downfall. Along with this, Hawthorne demonstrates how the people of Boston are actually the sinners while Hester and Dimmesdale represent the Angel and the Saint of the city.
Even though the Puritans may have designated the letter as a representation of sin, Hester’s renewed sense of pride does not want society to define the A for her. Rather Hester wants to define it herself and by doing so she develops responsibility and power over her own actions. Because Hester has the power to change who she is, she also has the power to change what the Scarlet Letter represents. By letting the letter be “embroidered with gold thread” readers are able to see how for Hester sin is not something to be fearful of; furthermore, it allows one to see how Hester has developed into an independent individual who accepts who she is and the situation she is presented with. Hester’s lover unfortunately
We are all sinners, no matter how hard we try to hide our faults, they always seem to come back, one way or another. Written in the 19th century, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us Hester Prynne and how one sin can change her life completely. Hester Prynne changes a great deal throughout The Scarlet Letter. Through the view of the Puritans, Hester is an intense sinner; she has gone against the Puritan way of life committing the highest act of sin, adultery. For committing such a sinful act, Hester must wear the scarlet letter while also having to bear stares from those that gossip about her.
Receiving the scarlet letter changed every aspect of Hester’s life. Especially at the start of the story, the letter symbolized the solitude and great suffering Hester faced just because of a letter placed on her bosom. The “A” also depicted how no one viewed Hester the same way as before her peccant actions. “…she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance” (Hawthorne 109). The pejorative community Hester lived in never saw Hester as the beautiful, young woman she was, but now, as a horrible fiend.
She is a beautiful, young woman who has sinned, but is forgiven. Hawthorne portrays Hester as "divine maternity" and she can do no wrong. Not only Hester, but also the physical scarlet letter, a sign of shame, is shown as a beautiful, gold and colorful piece which
By wearing the “A,” Hester was publicly humiliated, however, her development in character causes a change in the meaning of the Scarlet Letter, which leads her to taking pride in the letter as it grows a part of her. After Hester’s sin the Puritan community places a false