The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

Themes

Individuality

Hester has obtained individuality inside the puritan community because she has committed adultery and is being publicly shamed

The Occult

he Scarlet Letter mentions character such as Mistress Hibbins and hints at Pearl as being an “elf- child “ and being out of the ordinary and it can be portrayed to the idea of the Salem Massachusetts with the Salem Witch Trials and how this was seen as out of the ordinary within the puritan colonies because the “witches” were basically so strained from the life within the puritan colony, they have come out of the conformity of the colony and became their own person, causing the rest of the conformists to see the non- conformist as “witches” and then tried to get rid of them i.e. the salem witch trials

Puritanism

The book involves a major look into a basic puritan colony and perceives the life style as strict and unforgiving to sin

Sin

The puritans believed that people were born sinners; They believed that a sin like adultery should be punishable by death, but in the book they decided to make Hester Prynne a visual example to lead others away from the life of sin, because, they too, could end up like her if they fell onto the path of sin.

Nature

In the book, a theme of nature vs. puritanism is portrayed through uses of colors and descriptions of things around/ involving Hester. In the beginning of the book, there is use of a black rose and a red rose, black could stand for the puritan way of life, whereas the red rose can stand for the life they chose to give to Hester- not executing her for the in she committed

Gothic Elements

Although this novel seems like it isn't Gothic due to the townspeople being so adamant that Hester wear her letter to show her burden, The Scarlet Letter has many other Gothic characteristics throughout the novel.

Feeling of dread, foreboding feelings.

In the first chapter, the author creates a foreboding feeling, by describing the prison door. This feeling also carries on throughout the book.

"A wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes."
"It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow."

Intense Emotion

When Pearl is in danger of being taken away from Hester Prynne, Hester is vehement in trying to keep her with Hester. It creates a sense of urgency in the reader when they read this. Also, the way the townspeople react to Hester's sins is completely over dramatic.

"Ye shall not take her! I will die first!"
"Mercy on us, good wife," exclaimed a man in the crowd.
Essay Outline

The essay wants the writer to create an essay discussing how a character in the book is being pulled in different ways and it wants you to discuss the two different sides controlling the character and how these compelling forces affects and illuminates the novel as a whole.

Reverend Dimmesdale could be used to answer this essay with the compelling forces affecting his life being- telling the Puritan community what he has done and what sin he has committed and the other force being- keeping his feelings of guilt bottled up inside of him and keep his position in the community as this sort of role model view to the community.

Thesis

By the middle of the novel, Dimmesdale is at a crossroad between his guilt and trying to keep a steady figure within the puritan community. Dimmesdale is presented with the guilt once he has discussed things with Hester and comes to realize who Roger Chillingworth is causing his mental state to go down as he begins to let the bottled up guilt finally ate away from him enough to confess as his dying breath approaches him quickly.

Four Major Chapters

Four major chapters include: chapter 3 (The Recognition) , chapter 12 (The Minister’s Vigil), chapter 17 (The Pastor and His Parishioner), chapter 23 (The Revelation of The Scarlet Letter)

These chapters all relate because the conflict of Dimmesdale with himself relate to multiple chapters and along with the triple conflict among Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Hester. The Recognition involves Hester on the scaffold recognizing Roger Chillingworth as her ‘dead’ husband. In the Minister's Vigil, Dimmesdale visits the scaffold where Hester is punished for her sin daily and he feels his bottled up guilt from ere to the end of the novel when he confesses is sin to the town. The Pastor and His Parishioner involves Hester and Dimmesdale meeting in the woods and discussing the sin they committed together and they begin to make plans to flee to New England; Dimmesdale also finds out Roger Chillingworth's true identity- they begin to see Chillingworth as the worst sinner of all because of how the revenge he wants to seek has taken him over and changed him into a new man basically. In the Revelation of The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale finishes the highlight of his career- the election sermon- and then begins to act strange and different again; where he then mounts the scaffold yet again giving another crucial scaffold scene in the novel and he then admits his sin to the colony that he was the father to Peal and he committed adultery with Hester but he only did this coming clean because he knew he was dying and would soon be gone and wouldn’t have to deal with a punishment given by the townsfolk, and he revived his soul in a way before he died.

Credits:

Created with images by Boston Public Library - "The Scarlet Letter. A Romance [Title page]"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.