A Review Of The Scarlet Letter

analytical Essay
1212 words
1212 words

A Review of the Scarlet Letter

The novel opens with an explanation of how the romance of The Scarlet Letter came to be presented as a story in its existing form. Having always wanted to be a “literary man';, Nathaniel Hawthorne talks about his three-year stint as a Surveyor in the Salem Custom House. Mostly filled with older gentlemen, the workplace was a very political, Whig-influenced environment and charged with Puritan history. After brief character sketches of the personalities in the Custom House, Hawthorne then explains how he came upon a special package among the piles of papers. It contained a red cloth with the letter “A'; embroidered in gold thread and a manuscript by Jonathan Pue (the man who once held Hawthorne’s job). Finding the story extremely interesting, the author thus retells the story of Hester Prynne from Massachusetts’s Puritan history.
The first chapter begins with Hester being led to the scaffold where she is to be publicly shamed for having committed adultery. Hester is forced to wear the letter “A'; on her gown at all times as punishment for her crime. She has stitched a large scarlet “A'; onto her dress with gold thread, giving the letter an air of elegance. Hester carries Pearl, her daughter, with her. On the scaffold she is asked to reveal the name of Pearl’s father, but she refuses. In the crowd, Hester recognizes her husband from Amsterdam, Roger Chillingworth.
Chillingworth visits Hester after she is returned to the prison. He tells her that he will find out who the man was, and that he will read the truth on the man’s heart. He then forces her to promise never to reveal his own identity to anyone else.
Hester moves into a cottage bordering the woods. She and Pearl live there in relative solitude. Hester earns her money by doing stitchwork for local dignitaries, but often spends her time helping the poor and sick. Pearl grows up to be wild, in the sense that she refuses to obey her mother.
Roger Chillingworth earns a reputation as being a good physician. He uses his reputation to get transferred into the same home as Arthur Dimmesdale, an ailing minister. Chillingworth eventually discovers that Dimmesdale is the true father of Pearl, at which point he spends every moment trying to torment the minister.
One night Dimmesdale is so overcome with shame about hiding his secret that he walks to the scaffold where Hester was publicly humiliated.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how nathaniel hawthorne retells the story of hester prynne from massachusetts'amp;#8217;s puritan history.
  • Analyzes how hester is forced to wear the letter “a' on her gown as punishment for her adultery. she carries pearl, her daughter, with her.
  • Analyzes how chillingworth visits hester after she is returned to the prison. he tells her that he will find out who the man was, and read the truth on his heart.
  • Narrates how hester and pearl live in relative solitude in a cottage bordering the woods, earning her money by doing stitchwork for local dignitaries, but often helping the poor and sick.
  • Analyzes how roger chillingworth earns a reputation as being good physician and gets transferred to the same home as arthur dimmesdale, an ailing minister.
  • Describes how dimmesdale is overcome with shame about hiding his secret that he walks to the scaffold where hester was publicly humiliated. he imagines the whole town watching him with a letter on his chest.
  • Analyzes how a meteor illuminates the three people standing on the scaffold. hester realizes that chillingworth is slowly killing dimmesdale and that she has to help him.
  • Narrates how hester sees chillingworth picking herbs in the woods and tells him that providence is now in charge of their fates.
  • Analyzes how hester takes pearl into the woods where they wait for dimmesdale to arrive. he is surprised to see them, but confesses that he is desperate for a friend who knows his secret.
  • Narrates how dimmesdale's encounter with hester and pearl revives his dreams of a better future together.
  • Analyzes how dimmesdale arrives home and realizes his house looks strange and different. chillingsworth arrives at his door asking about his health.
  • Analyzes how hester finds a ship that will carry all three of them to the old world, and it comes to pass that the ship is due to sail the day after dimmesdale gives his election sermon
  • Analyzes how dimmesdale gives his election sermon, which receives the highest praise of any preaching he has ever performed. he then unexpectedly walks to the scaffold and stands on it, in full view of the gathered masses.
  • Analyzes how dimmesdale tells the people that he is a sinner like hester and should have assumed his rightful place by her side over seven years earlier.
  • Narrates how hester and pearl leave the town for awhile, and several years later, he returns. pearl is assumed to get married and have children in europe, but when she passes away, she is buried in the king's chapel.
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