Rhetorical Devices Used In Scarlet Letter

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Sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. Despite the moral principles recognized in everyone, it is so often that individuals succumb to the instant gratification of sin. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the plot is centered around a group of Puritans living in Boston Massachusetts, where the avoidance of sin is one of their most absolute doctrines. He truly captures how sin affects individuals in a strict civilization through the use of various rhetorical devices, focusing on the symbolism of the characters, the distinct tone employed to convey specific messages, and the analogies further that emphasize and develop the effects of sin on individuals.
One of the most evident and persistent rhetorical …show more content…

The fourth chapter contains a simile, “The jailer, after ushering him into the room, remained a moment, marvelling at the comparative quiet that followed his entrance; for Hester Prynne had immediately become as still as death, although the child continued to moan” (Hawthorne 49). The simile helps to demonstrate how Hester feels when her sin of adultery has been discovered by her husband. The following chapter contains a powerful metaphor, “The chain that bound her here was of iron links, and galling to her inmost soul, but never could be broken” (Hawthorne 55). This statement by Hawthorne is also referring to the effects of Hester’s sin, because of this sin the A represents the iron links that make her a slave to herself in her hard Puritan society, for she does not truly have iron links attached to her. Another metaphor is present later in the novel when Hester tells Pearl, “‘Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give to thee’” (Hawthorne 71)! No one can physically gather sunshine, however Nathaniel Hawthorne uses this metaphor to compare happiness and sunshine. Hester’s sin has deprived her of her youthful happiness so therefore she has none to offer young Pearl. When Hester later find the courage to tell Chillingworth that she is going to inform Dimmesdale of his sin, she says, “‘Your clutch is on his life, and you cause him to die daily a living death; and still he knows you not’” (Hawthorne 117). While Dimmesdale is not physically dying, this metaphor further describes how Chillingworth's sin is causing Dimmesdale intense pain emotionally. On election day there is a simile that compares Pearl’s excitement for the affair to that of a shimmering diamond, “On this eventful day, moreover, there was a certain singular inquietude and excitement in her mood, resembling nothing so much as the shimmer of a diamond, that sparkles and flashes…” (Hawthorne

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