Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne is a very well known author, especially for one of his more famous novels, The Scarlet Letter. When reading engaging, well-written, and ambiguous novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, we, as students, must go deeper and actually scrutinize the novel and try to depict certain themes or styles that we see developing throughout the course of the book. It is quite easy to see symbolism in this novel; however, it is not as easy to fully understand the thought process that went along with every word, paragraph, and page to The Scarlet Letter, or for that matter, any of Hawthorne’s novels. With such deep contemplation comes the perplexity within the reader’s mind. The Scarlet Letter, while known for it’s impressive symbolism, allegory, and allusion (Matthiessen 2), also gives the reader that special quality of allowing oneself to concoct the fate or background of some disclosed or reclusive characters. Hawthorne 's use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter falters and ultimately breaks down character, setting, and overall symbolism in the book.

One of the most integral parts of the book, when Hester Prynne speaks to the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale about their predicament, takes place in the forest. As you go on reading, it becomes more and more apparent that there is somewhat of a contrast between settings such as the town and the forest. The forest symbolizes a dark and mysterious place where impulsiveness and drive prevail and also where the goings-on are to be kept a secret. (Levy, Leo B 2) The forest is described as dismal, gloomy and full of shadows with an imposing, cloudy sky that is filled with threatening storms (Hawthorne 181). When Dimmesdale and Hester first see each other, Hawthorne describes them as being "in t...


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...ll symbolism in the book as stated before. The result of this is a more unified story. As the reader analyzes the novel and finds that there is parallel symbolism throughout; the reader begins to get a sense that the story is a whole and not just bits and pieces that were thrown together in hopes of creating something desirable. There was nothing unmethodical about the work within The Scarlet Letter. The symbols throughout were universal, and understood by all who care to try and grasp such divergent writing. Although not all readers surmise the novel the same way, the unsurpassable way that Hawthorne writes speaks to all in different and distinct ways. Some may see symbolism a different way than another but it can all be agreed to that any reader that takes the time to divulge themselves into a piece of such magnitude is guaranteed to emerge with a new site of life.

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