Nathaniel Hawthorne's Use of Words to Paint Images within the The Scarlet Letter and Hawthorne’s Political Career in the Salem Custom House

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Within the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne used imagery throughout the entire story. Hawthorne utilized imagery to help support his ideas. He was able to paint the picture of what was happening. He vividly described every detail of the novel. There are many examples found within the story

The first example is the letter “A” itself which stands for adultery. The letter is made by Hester. She makes it very high quality and from very fine materials. He goes into great detail, and it shows quite a bit about the character of Hester. She sacrifices her natural beauty by exchanging her colorful clothing for a dull gray and she hid her beautiful hair under a hat. She hides her natural beauty in an attempt to pay for her sin. This is an example of imagery showing how a character can hid their true selves. Hawthorne used the “A” as a symbol throughout the entire book. "The appearance of an immense letter - the letter A - marked out in lines of dull red light" (Pg. 152). This quote has both imagery and symbolism. It creates a picture of a peaceful and dark night sky that is suddenly disturbed by a red streak forming the letter "A." It also symbolized Dimmesdale and Hester's sin of adultery.

Another way Hawthorne used imagery is how he described the governor’s house. It is a much more simplistic use of imagery, but it show Hawthorne’s attention to detail within his writing. The majority of Chapter 7 is taken up by describing the governor’s home. Hawthorne described how it was built in the style of the English aristocracy, complete with family portraits and a suit of armor, which the governor has worn in battles with the Native Americans.

The most important way Nathaniel Hawthorne used imagery was how he d...

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...ame about as a notebook that Hawthorne had written during his mother’s death. That is actually one of the main reasons that The Scarlet Letter is filled with such emotion. Hawthorne also believed he needed to revitalize American literature as in this next quote. “Choosing adultery as the sin to which the Puritans were to react, and in so doing, according to some of his moralistic critics, "Frenchifying" American literature…” (American Studies @ Virginia paragraph 21) Henry James said "the book was the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in this country."

Works Cited MLA Format:

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Pleasantville, N.Y: Reader's Digest Association, 1984. Print.

"Nathaniel Hawthorne." American Studies @ The University of Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma01/lisle/dial/hawthorne.html

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