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 connection adheres with the reader, whether it be conscious or not, and affects their day to day life, changing how readers view situations given to them ranging in
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published in 1850. It focuses on the life of the main protagonist, Hester Prynne, living in a Puritan community. Both Yamin Wang and Maria Stromberg offer insight into The Scarlet Letter and analyze multiple aspects of the story.. Both Wang and Stromberg claim that there is an underlying ideology hidden in the texts of the book. Wang approaches the story from a feminist approach and states that Hester represents the feminism in the Puritan community, and she analyzes the Puritan’s outlook on women in their society. Much like Wang believes there is an underlying feminism aspect to the story, Stromberg claims that the story has a hidden, social issue. Similarly, Stromberg also analyzes an
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. The scene detailing Hester and Pearl’s time in the Governor's house is just one of Hawthorne’s many appeals to emotion. After entering the home, Pearl notices a polished suit of armor, and calls Hester over to see it.
Hester is accused of adultery, and is forced by the city magistrates to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest for the rest of her life. She is forced to wear the mark, living with the “pang of it … always in her heart.” (78) Although she initially tries to degrade the negative connotation of the scarlet letter by decorating it and covering it up, she grows to accept “the scarlet letter flaming on her breast” (118), and the letter only increases her strength. The letter, although not a physical punishment, affects her more on a social and emotional level, isolating her from society and drawing ridicule from townsfolk. Her isolation leads her to connect with only a limited few, including Mistress Hibbins, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. More important than its meaning is the letter’s connection to the mark of the Black Man. The letter is a symbol of Hester’s sin, a mark telling society to stay away because of the awful evil she has committed. However, this letter A is also the mark of the Black Man. According to the “old dame[,] … [the] scarlet letter was the Black Man’s mark,” (277-278) , a symbol of one’s allegiance to the powers of evil. Hawthorne purposefully instills this connection, and forces the reader to more closely at the parallel. When questioned by Pearl, Hester sheds light on her letter, saying that she did “Once in [her] life I [meet] the Black Man” (278), and that the “scarlet letter is [in fact] his mark!” (278) Hester only internally realizes the connection between the Black Man and Chillingworth, but her claim leads the reader to understand the true relationship between the two connotations of her scarlet
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a novel that focuses on sin in the Puritan society. Hawthorne revolves the theme around the four main characters Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth., and Pearl. Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’ after committing adultery against her husband Roger Chillingworth, with the minister Arthur Dimmesdale. As a result an odd child is born. Dimmesdale never admits that he is a father of the child, and is forced to suffer alone in guilt, while Roger Chillingworth seeks revenge. Hawthorne is known for his incorporation of symbolism into his writing. One of the most complex and misunderstood symbols is Pearl. She is a unique character. Often known as the product of her
However, he also uses these allusions to create a new side to his narrative as evident when he describes Hester’s resilience, and to create a new element in the plot as evident in his description of Dimmesdale’s penance and need for redemption. Therefore, Hawthorne demonstrates an effective use of allusions to craft a religious and detailed narrative for The Scarlet Letter by reviewing on parallels between the Bible and the novel’s main characters. There’s more to The Scarlet Letter than these allusions though, and there are many questions to answer about this book. These questions may never be answered fully, but by reading the novel itself, we might find the right places to start searching for answers and formulate our own opinions on the matter. What’s important from this novel is the realistic warning about what might happens when an individual place themselves too highly among others, a message Hawthorne writes to warn against the fervor of transcendentalism of his time. With these insights, we might finally appreciate the novel for what it is and the message it tries to
In the novel the Scarlet Letter the author Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes setting, allusion, characterization and symbolism to support his theme of independence of a women who was able to keep her dignity even when people were constantly putting her down.
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, focuses on the life of Hester Prynne—the unlucky soul who is caught committing adultery and forced to live a life of shame and ignominy. The scaffold is not only the start of her predicament, but it is also the end of the once seemingly perfect Reverend Dimmesdale’s own guilt. The scaffold is the setting of a scene three times throughout the novel: the beginning, middle, and end. For such a lifeless object, it is difficult to recognize its significance in the novel; however, the scaffold is used by Hawthorne to portray the changing relationship between the characters, specifically Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne pinpoints various effects of sin on individuals within a strict, Puritan society. To shed a negative light on Puritan attitudes toward sin and lack of forgiveness, Hawthorne paints vivid pictures of freedom and imprisonment, relief and regret, through the juxtaposition of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, and the characterization of the two lovers.
Because even her name conjures up many conflicting thoughts, the true nature of Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is heavily debated among critics. Mark Van Doren and D.H. Lawrence both assert their conflicting perspectives with a multitude of convincing devices, but D.H. Lawrence more effectively portrays Hester Prynne as an enemy through the use of thought-provoking allusions, critical diction and repetition, and an unconventional syntax in his essay, On Hester Prynne.
The Puritan belief and lifestyle plays a major role in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. The story takes place in Puritan New England, and opens with a scene presenting to the audience that a young woman named Hester Prynne has committed adultery. Wearing her punishment proudly, a scarlet letter “A” on her breast, Hester continues to live in New England where she raises her daughter and creates an embroidering business for herself. All the while, in the heart of the town, Hester’s lover and the child’s father, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale silently suffers and is ultimately overcome with guilt from his secret sin until the point of death. Throughout the story, references to witchcraft and a witch’s link to Satan is expressed. Several
The Scarlet Letter written by author Nathaniel Hawthorne is an American novel based on sin and the act of Adultery. This novel is based on the early days of the Massachusetts colony and shows how differently crimes are approached then from now. Hester Prynne commits the unfaithful crime of Adultery and not only does she have to serve for her punishment, but her daughter serves for it as well. Pearl, the symbol of an act of forbidden love and passion has to live with being the reminder of her mother 's misconduct for her entire life. Growing up in a small town with her reputation, it is hard for Pearl to have any kind of normality in her life. Pearl is unlike the other children in many ways, she is an outcast and does not have a friendly relationship
The oxymoron of death and celebration often occurred in Puritan societies as Puritans viewed public punishment and executions as joyful entertainment. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne examines the concept of guilt and how it negatively affects the human soul. As he reveals a dark and gloomy Puritan society, Hawthorne introduces Hester Prynne, mother of young Pearl, who has recently committed adultery and is being publicly shamed for her punishment. Betwixt and hidden beneath this conflict, is Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester’s partner in crime, who struggles with the guilt of his sin. As the town begins to forgive Hester Prynne, Dimmesdale’s distraught soul causes his physical and mental health to decline. Hawthorne utilizes detailed characterization,
Everyone has been judged by society. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Hester has been judged by society since she had a child with a man she was not married to and for that society has punished her by making her wear this symbol of an A. This symbol was the scarlet letter. In the novel the scarlet letter, the scarlet letter is shown through the use of imagery and figurative language to demonstrate that judgment through society as well as sin is bad while the scarlet is a symbol of sin wrapped in good and beauty.
In conclusion, various symbols are used by Hawthorne in order for the reader to grasp a deeper meaning of a certain character.