Nathaniel Hawthorne's Diction In Scarlet Letter

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Society has had a long history of belittling both people and their individuality, and also not allowing people to reach their full potential. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne is constantly talking about society in a negative way. Hawthorne himself is a transcendentalist who views society as a terrible institution and a way to stop people from reaching their true potential. Hawthorne's view of both puritan society and society during his time plays into his view and characterization of Hester Prynne. Hester Prynne is a fictional character who committed a sin and was publicly shamed and shunned from society because of it. Hawthorne's use of negative diction and vivid imagery conveys a more disappointed, but also somewhat …show more content…

He uses terms like “graceful foliage” and “bare harsh outline” to compare who Hester could have been vs who she became, due to the scarlet letter. This damaging diction and harsh comparisons implies that Hawthorne is ultimately disappointed in Hester. Hawthorne also uses compare and contrast to contrast Hester and the society she lives in. He says “Men bolder than these had overthrown and rearranged the whole system of ancient prejudice” to display that he is disappointed in Hesters inability to take control of her life. He is also disappointed that even though she could have, she never rebuilt society to her standards. In this section Hawthorne is showing what Hester should have done and why it led to his negative feelings towards …show more content…

Hawthorne also uses repetition to show Hester in a more positive light, outlining his ambivalent tone. He uses negative diction to show that it isn't just Hesters fault for not improving upon herself, it is also society's fault. He uses more diction like “ to say that Hester needs to teardown society and build it from the ground up if she truly wants her situation to get better. A device he uses effectively here is imagery. He creates the image of other people who rejected society and succeeded to prove his point that Hester would have been much better off if she had done what she wanted to, not what she needed to. Hawthorne also uses dark diction like “wandered without a clew in the dark” and “labyrinth of a mind” to display that Hester is unable to break free from society, and instead wanders around without a purpose. In the last sentence he says “the scarlet letter had not done its office to prove that even though he is ultimately disappointed in Hester, he is also somewhat proud of her. He uses compare and contrast to describe this feeling. He contrasts the “wild and ghastly scenery” with the last sentence to show the many different ways he feels about Hester. The last sentence implies that even though he may seem disappointed in just about everything Hester has done, he is still able to see the good she has done in her

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