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The Scarlet Letter: Critical Analysis Sample

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    The Scarlet Letter. written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne. is about a Puritan society in Massachusetts. The subject of this novel is mostly sin. and how the guilty parties were non every bit treated for the same wickedness or exposed for the incorrect that they had done in the eyes of God. Hawthorne describes misrepresentation. the withholding of the truth. and secretiveness in the development of the secret plan and characters in the novel. Hawthorne vividly makes usage of symbolism and feminine position in Puritan New England. giving The Scarlet Letter a complex secret plan.

    American transcendentalist Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4. 1804 in Salem. Massachusetts to Elizabeth Manning and Nathaniel Hathorne ( Stewart 2 ) . It is said that Hawthorne inherited his father’s sternness. moodiness. and desire to remain to himself ( 3 ) . Hawthorne spent his college old ages in Maine ( 13 ) . and married Sophia Peabody in 1842 ( 62 ) . Hawthorne was one time called the “American Shakespeare. ” by Herman Melville ( 249 ) .

    The usage of symbolism by Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter can foremost be seen in the prison. The prison may be linked symbolically to the strict enforcement of Puritan Torahs. Besides. Hawthorne refers to Ann Hutchinson. who rebelled against the Puritan beliefs and was imprisoned. Hawthorne describes a rose bush turning outside. and how impossible it was that it should be turning at that place by stating. “This rose-bush. by a unusual opportunity. has been kept alive in history ; but whether it had simply survived out of the austere old wilderness. . . or whether. as the is just authorization for believing. it had sprung up under the footfalls of the angelic Ann Hutchinson. as she entered the prison-door. . . ” ( Literary Classicss of the United States 159 ) . This rose shrub is symbolic of passion. and Hester’s wickedness is one of passion. The rosebush in bloom parallels the fact that Hester has given birth to a kid as a consequence of her passionate wickedness. Possibly the most apparent of all symbolisms that Hawthorne inside informations is the vermilion missive “A” that Hester is forced to have on. meaning that she is an fornicatress.

    Hester can non believe that she is forced to confront the town entirely. with her new kid. and is overwhelmed when she realizes that everything that she one time knew is gone ( 168 ) . Hester is forced to confront her wickedness entirely. although another individual looks on as the male parent of the kid. Arthur Dimmesdale. an high curate in the town. However. Hester will non state who the male parent of her kid is. Ironically. Hester’s hubby. who was lost at sea. returns and cries to Hester. “Speak. adult female! Speak and give your kid a male parent! ” The sarcasm in this state of affairs lies in the fact that Hester’s hubby. Roger Chillingworth. should hold been Hester’s kid Pearl’s male parent. A concluding sarcasm is the fact that Dimmesdale is forced to seek and do Hester

    confess the name of her child’s male parent. and after seeking. gives up really easy. when he is the male parent of Pearl ( 176 ) . Pearl is an of import usage of symbolism because she is the populating incarnation of her mother’s wickedness. The name “Pearl” is a symbol of who Pearl is ; a beautiful pearl inside an unattractive oyster. but still with a grain of sand enclosed. The grain of sand is the memory of the wickedness that was committed. The image of sunlight running off from Hester indicates that wherever she goes. agony is caused ( 276 ) .

    The position of adult females in Puritan New England was really low. Hawthorne provides an account in his Custom House Sketch of his political positions. and in the novel. Hawthorne portrays Hester as a adult female with no political worth. Puritan adult females were held at a higher standard refering issues of virtuousness and unity. every bit long as they stayed off from disturbing beginnings. Over the old ages. a passage in the significance of ethical motives and values made a adult female into what she was in Hawthorne’s clip. Hester found it hard to state the truth because she was a adult female. Possibly composing a book on feminine high quality would hold cause a struggle because Hawthorne had much to lose socially. “Even as adult females claimed republican citizenship. the definition of citizenship for males was switching to a more individualistic. acquisitive. and capitalist-oriented theoretical account. ” significance that although adult females were trying to catch up to the work forces politically. the adult females could non maintain up with the alterations. Hester finds herself abandoned by both of the work forces in her life. and. “in a sense. wedded to the missive [ “A” ] . ” Hester. released from have oning the missive. continues to have on it. This state of affairs of symbolic matrimony

    fixates on the American criterion that matrimony causes a adult female to lose her individuality. and increases her simpleness and ignorance. Hester eventually decides that it is clip to take off the missive and free her of the yesteryear when she and Dimmesdale find old feelings for one another. She renounces her desire and lecherousness. every bit good as the position that the missive represents. and throws the missive into the watercourse. allowing her hair down. The difference between adult females and slaves in Puritan New England was that the adult females were collected. The wilderness. as described in the novel. represents a topographic point where passion can turn. a topographic point where ethical motives do non be ( Gussman 58 ) .

    Hawthorne uses symbolism and political positions of the people in Puritan New England to roll up a fantastic novel. The Scarlet Letter continues to be a valuable. challenging book about the power of doing one error in a minute that can last a life-time. The symbolism shows the reader a different manner to look at a concrete state of affairs. The political position of adult females in Puritan civilization has changed really much over the old ages. but male and female inequality continues to be brought up in many state of affairss. This novel is a authoritative. and it should be noted that it represents two clip periods: Puritan New England and Hawthorne’s clip. The fresh touches readers today as good. as people continue to fight with the humiliation and effects from wickedness.

    Plants Cited

    Gussman. Deborah. “Inalienable rights: Fictions of political individuality in Hobomok

    and The Scarlet Letter. ” College Literature June 1995: 58-81.

    Literary Classicss of the United States. Hawthorne Novels. New York: Viking

    Imperativeness. 1983.

    Stewart. Randall. Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography. New Haven: Yale

    University Press. 1961.

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