Scarlet Letter Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Puritan’s harsh beliefs represented the beginning of the Nineteenth Century in the newly colonized America. Their community ruled with an iron fist: unforgiving, pitiless, stern. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses his disagreement with puritan priorities by revealing the hypocrisy widely practiced throughout their community. Hawthorne’s utilization of dim diction aids in the establishment of his scornful tone, while inclusion of symbols and intricate juxtaposition all serve to accentuate the Puritan’s duplicity. All these factors combine to develop a critical tone which rebukes puritan society. By negatively depicting the Puritans with his depressing diction, Hawthorne establishes a scornful tone that highlights the Puritan’s…show more content…
From the very beginning, the second paragraph of the novel describes “their [Puritans] earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison” (Hawthorne 45). The first building constructed, the prison, represents Puritan priorities. Hawthorne emphasizes the Puritan’s mainly pessimistic and dull characteristics that make up their society as a prison represents fear, punishment and pain. Further in the paragraph, Hawthorne describes the new puritan community with words connoting depression: “grave...gloomy” with “darker aspects “and “ugly edifices” (Hawthorne 45). Hawthorne utilizes dismal diction, invoking a melancholy tone. Such dreary diction stirs up emotion of desolation and misery as Hawthorne’s word choice connects and reminds his audience of dark thoughts. By opening his novel with such a grim subject, Hawthorne creates a contemptuous tone as he indirectly scorns the austere Puritans for their unforgiving and harsh manners. With the demonstrated disdain, Hawthorne criticizes puritan society and prepares his audience for further
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