Contrasting Settings In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1310 Words6 Pages
The Scarlet Letter Essay “To the untrue man, the whole universe is false,--it is impalpable,--it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist.” (Hawthorne 115) Throughout the hostile novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne used contrasting settings to represent opposed ideas that were central to the meaning of the work. Some have argued that when it came to the theme that secrets have a destructive effect on the secret-keeper and truth, by contrast, was natural, a character evaluation would best advocate these differences. However, two settings, Dimmesdale’s house and the secrets that lie within, and the scaffold representing the truth, better embody the adverse ideas posed by the point at issue. Arthur Dimmesdale’s house not only contained his own secrets, but also accommodated Roger Chillingworth’s as well. It was from their residence together that the detrimental repercussion of their enigmas appear; thus relating in the key point: secrets destroyed the keeper. The first indication of this correspondence was Dimmesdale’s developed illness. Withholding the reality of his position as the father of Hester’s child from the town for status purposes had begun to physically dismantle him, literally from the inside out. For example, “‘I need no…show more content…
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibited this by establishing two contradictory settings: Dimmesdale’s house and the scaffold. These environments provided a myriad of scenes that additionally cohered with the theme. Although some have disagreed with this statement, these sites and theme best interpreted Hawthorne’s comprehensive message: dishonesty is only the beginning of a long and painful
Open Document