Language In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The entirety of of The Scarlet Letter is written from the perspective of an anonymous third person narrator. Due to his egotistical tendencies, much of the novel is told through very didactic word usage because the narrator intends on teaching the readers instead of solely telling a story. Another prevalent aspect of the work in the difference of diction between the descriptions and speakings of each individual character. Hawthorne ensures that the language a character uses reflects on their personalities as well as follows along with their characterizations throughout the book. In possessing very formal diction overall, the narrator also manages to include artistic aspects such as imagery, metaphor and personification to enhance the novel’s…show more content…
His intense descriptions and ability to make things come alive allow for enhanced understandings of the underlying meanings within the novel. This imagery spreads and mixes into other artful devices such as metaphor and personification which deliver blows of literary beauty. Combinations such as these are seen in the rosh bush detail that is placed right outside Hester’s prison door. It’s described as “a wild rosebush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in” (Hawthorne, 68) mostly to express the metaphor of mocking the prisoner with beauty as all they feel is misery, but it also displays extreme imagery of it’s scent and sparkle. This can be said for Hawthorne’s illustration of the governor’s garden as well. Specifically, the mentions of the changing of the garden from flourished with shrubs and tress to overturned with abandonment. These images of decay perfectly represent the attempt to replicate an English garden on the soil of New England. Readers see Hawthorne’s use of personification throughout his descriptions of nature by bringing lifelike qualities and appearances to their…show more content…
Not to mention how the entirety of the title is a metaphor, little additions and comparisons strategically placed by Hawthorn expose readers to the much deeper meaning to each of the scenes. It is amazing to see Hawthorne’s ability to use metaphor in beautiful ways, such as comparing children to flowers, as well as dark serious ways, such as Chillingworth’s resemblance to Satan. As previously mentioned, there is high importance placed on the underlying meanings of the natural world within the novel. Comparisons to season such as Spring represent growth and plentifulness all while Hawthorne is not afraid to represent suffering and death through relation to the decay or a garden once abandoned. It is common for Hawthorne to use people on the other ends of a metaphor in order to give insight into their true personalities. In comparing the darkness of Pearl’s eye to a mirror the novel states “not her own miniature portrait, but another face in the small black mirror of Pearl 's eye” (Hawthorne, 134). Though the darkness and mirror are a part of Pearl they represent something much larger in Hester’s life. It is a metaphor towards reflection on herself and how she is aware of her own gloom. Overall, Hawthorne uses metaphor in oder to give readers insight to who the characters truly are and how they truly
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