“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Kahlil Gibran illustrates characterization that portrays suffering, thus enhancing one’s integrity and depth of character. The development of characters relies heavily on direct and indirect presentation. Direct presentation reveals a character through the author’s narrative, while indirect presentation occurs when the character develops from actions and dialogue. These techniques significantly illustrate different characters. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, characterization creates both powerful and unforgettable characters. Set in the Puritan community of Boston, Massachusetts, during the 1600s, The Scarlet Letter, initially focuses on the young Hester Prynne and the punishments she must endure due to her sin of adultery. Hester’s lover and public figure, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, proves to be the unidentified father of Hester’s elfish daughter, Pearl. Eventually, the plot shifts to concentrate on Dimmesdale and his continual state of concealed anguish. To begin, Hawthorne’s involvement of direct presentation portrays to the reader the internal conflicts prominent in Dimmesdale’s soul. In addition, Dimmesdale’s actions present to the audience the change that occurs within himself throughout the novel. However, the contradictory scene of Dimmesdale’s death creates a major flaw. Therefore, Hawthorne’s methods of characterization brilliantly develop Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale a round, dynamic character who expresses the importance of being truthful.
Primarily, Hawthorne’s application of direct presentation portrays Dimmesdale’s state of guilt-ridden misery. Ironi...
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...ayal of Dimmesdale and his death insufficiently supports the theme and characterizes him poorly.
Therefore, Hawthorne’s characterization techniques present Dimmesdale as a round, dynamic character who displays the importance of honesty towards both others and oneself. Primarily, Hawthorne includes direct and indirect characterization to uncover the affect Dimmesdale’s sin has on his soul. On the contrary, Hawthorne faults by making Dimmesdale die a tragic death after confessing, which discredits Hawthorne’s theme. In truth, everyone has hidden secrets, and everyone has made mistakes. In order to avoid scrutiny, many conceal these faults rather than embrace them. On the other hand, acknowledging one’s mistakes often provides the relief of no longer hiding one’s true self. Thus, a character that emerges “out of suffering” develops through the lesson he or she learns.
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