Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter. In a well- organized response, analyze how the author’s use of language influences both mood and tone. The scene was not without a mixture of awe, such as must always Invest the spectacle of guilt and shame in a fellow-creature, before society shall have grown corrupt enough to smile, instead of shuddering, at It. The witnesses of Hester Prune’s disgrace had not yet passed beyond their simplicity.
They were stern enough to look up her death, had that been the sentence, without a murmur at Its severity, but had none of the heartlessness of another social state, which would find only a theme for Jest In an exhibition Like the present. Even had there been a disposition to turn the matter Into ridicule, It must have been repressed and overpowered by the solemn presence of men no less dignified than the Governor, and several of his counselors, a Judge, a general, and the ministers of the town; all of homo sat or stood In a balcony of the meeting-house, looking down upon the platform. Hen such personages could constitute a part of the spectacle, without risking the majesty of reverence of rank and office, it was safely to be inferred that the infliction of a legal sentence would have an earnest and effectual meaning. Accordingly, the crowd was somber and grave. The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all assisted upon her, and concerted at her bosom.
It was almost intolerable to be borne. Of an impulsive and passionate nature, she had fortified herself to encounter the sings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult; but there was a quality so much more terrible in the solemn mood of the popular mind, that she longed rather to behold all those rigid countenances contorted with scornful merriment, and herself the object.
Had a roar of laughter burst from the multitude,-each man, each woman, each little shrill-voiced child, contributing their individual parts,-Hester Prone might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile. But, under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure, she felt, at moments, as if she must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs, and cast herself from the scaffold down upon the ground, or else go mad at once.