Prison Door In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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On the threshold of this “tale of human frailty and sorrow,” Nathaniel Hawthorne opens his novel with an unusual approach; he closely examines a prison door and all of its suggestive qualities (36). In Chapter 1 of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne creates a paradoxical, ambiguous, and complex mood through the use of an ominous tone, symbolism, and allusion. By standing at the prison door, the reader stands between puritanical confinement and feminine freedom. Chapter 1 opens with a description of the prison door that engenders a foreboding feeling through connotative imagery and negative diction. Hawthorne depicts the prison door as being “heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes” (35). The “ponderous iron-work” causes the reader to consider the nature of humanity and society’s darker tendencies (35). The heavy timbers and spikes instill an oppressive feeling that coincides with the judgmental and repressive attitudes of the Puritans. The visual Hawthorne presents allows the reader to imagine the strength and…show more content…
Hawthorne noted, “…the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison door, --we shall not take us to determine” (36). Anne Hutchinson did not let the fact that she got banned from Boston get to her and her freedom was not confined she did what she wanted and did not care. Hutchinson was a perfect example of the ominous tone because she was not afraid of what would happen to her and she did not let the confinement get to her. Hawthorne states, “… to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.” (36). The “sweet moral blossom” is referring back to Ann Hutchinson which symbolizes the rose-bush (36). The representation of freedom and confinement could not have been portrayed in any other way. Ann Hutchinson and the rose-bush were a great combination to convey the complex
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