Imagery and Irony in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essays

Imagery and Irony in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essays

Length: 906 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



Imagery and Irony in The Scarlet Letter            

 

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, uses a variety of literary techniques in order to produce energy and invoke the interest of the reader.  He creates the mood and the climax of the novel by using the techniques of imagery and irony.  Yet, it is his use of symbolism that truly carries the novel.

            An abundance of symbolism appears in many different forms, adding interest to the novel.  For instance, Hawthorne uses his characters, such as Pearl, as symbols; “It was the scarlet letter in another form, the scarlet letter endowed with life.” (Ch. VII pg. 103)  Pearl is a symbol of the sin of Hester and Dimmesdale.  She serves as a constant punishment and living conscience.  In addition, Hawthorne uses natural occurrences such as light and darkness as symbols by having Dimmesdale stand upon the scaffold only at night.  Darkness, therefore, is a symbol of the concealment of sin, and light becomes a symbol of truth and acceptance of guilt.  The use of light and dark occurs many times throughout the novel to place emphasis on the underlying morals.  Furthermore, Hawthorne uses everyday objects, such as the brook in the forest, to serve as a symbol.  Pearl refused to cross the brook and join her mother on the other side, making the brook a symbol of the boundary between the two worlds of truth and deception.  This natural setting is one of the most striking in the novel.  By using symbolism in these three forms (characters, natural occurrence, and simple objects) Ha...


... middle of paper ...


...tter it were so, than to hide a guilty heart through life.  What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hypocrisy to sin.”  (Ch. III pg. 73)  One of the strengths in Hawthorne’s novel is his use of dramatic irony.  To the townspeople, this passage appears to be a breathtaking speech that would make any sinner confess, when in truth, Dimmesdale is pleading with Hester to reveal his sin.   The irony in the novel establishes the strife and dismay of the climax.

            Hawthorne’s use of the three literary techniques of symbolism, imagery, and irony are what make his novel a masterpiece.  By using these three techniques, he allows the reader to find inspiration and morality, visualize the plot, and become absorbed in the work itself.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Imagery and Symbolism in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter: Imagery and Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes imagery to convey that Dimmesdale can represent Puritan Society rather than the round character that can be seen on the surface level. This is seen through the imagery and symbolism of hypocrisy, Dimmesdale as a Christ figure, and the scarlet letter. First of all, Hawthorne parallels the hypocrisy of Dimmesdale to that of Puritan society. Hawthorne describes Dimmesdale as, "a viler companion of the vilest, the worst of sinners," even though Dimmesdale is seen as the most holy man in the Puritan community....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
827 words (2.4 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, like many romantic novels, opens the reader 's mind to many different views on the ideal life. The key details of the novel 's plot and character diversity are strategically used to show many different aspects to life. Two aspects that are repeatedly shown in the novel are the contrasts between nature and society. Hawthorne highlights several romantic ideas to emphasize the effect of nature’s purity and freedom on people in contrast with the corruption of community....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1268 words (3.6 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essays

- Throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, imagery, location, and time of day each play an important role in the development of the novel’s plot. More importantly, the time of day, whether sunlight or darkness presented itself plays the most important role in determining events of the story. Often times, the same setting and location hosted several different scenes in the book. For example, the scaffold played a large role both in the plot of the story, and further developing the story as an allegory....   [tags: Imagery, Location, Time]

Better Essays
1250 words (3.6 pages)

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

- ... 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....   [tags: ideas, picture, detail, imagery]

Better Essays
771 words (2.2 pages)

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne uses his novel, The Scarlet Letter to critique the Puritan faith. In developing his story of the adulteress Hester Prynne, he uses both religious and natural imagery to show his disdain for the Puritan religion. The Scarlet Letter is a vivid portrayal of his utter dislike for the Puritans and everything that they stand for. Hawthorne is in complete disagreement with them and makes it clear throughout the book. Though it is shown throughout The Scarlet Letter that Nathaniel Hawthorne is completely against the Puritan faith, his views, other than those shown in the book, happen to be quite similar as well....   [tags: Hawthorne Scarlet Letter Analysis]

Free Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, records a struggled life about two adultery lovers. This story was marked by the most successful work back in 1850s and also become to a big part of Hawthorne’s writing career. Through the eyes of his main character Hester Prynne, the readers seem to see a woman’s helpless under a brutal and traditional society, which was ruled by Puritan people. After his book had been published one after another, no one can deny Hawthorne’s irreplaceable talent and unremitting effort....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, records a struggled life about two adultery lovers. This story was marked by the most successful work back in 1850s and also become to a big part of Hawthorne’s writing career. Through the eyes of his main character Hester Prynne, the readers seem to see a woman’s helpless under a brutal and traditional society, which was ruled by Puritan people. After his book had been published one after another, no one can deny Hawthorne’s irreplaceable talent and unremitting effort....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- A multitude of literary works possess much more information than an initial review reveals which is no accident on the author’s part. One author who epitomizes this method of writing is Nathaniel Hawthorne and his book The Scarlet Letter. Following a thorough review of the book, the underpinnings of literary elements reveal the way in which he incorporates his dynamic tone throughout the story, and, with extensive research, conclusions can be made as to why he wrote the novel. Exploring the latter topic allows analysts of all kind gain further insight on his character and its relation to the books content....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1492 words (4.3 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a combination of various literary elements contribute to the academic value of the novel. Symbolism, imagery, and figurative language assist in conveying the tone of the events occurring in main character’s lives. From Hester’s first public appearance as a sinner to the A illustrated on her grave, she experiences mixed emotions both interpersonally and extrapersonally, defining why her story is one of highest regards. From the first scene on the scaffold, Hester’s scarlet letter and her intense shame define her character....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1071 words (3.1 pages)

Characterization through Imagery and Metaphor in The Scarlet Letter Essay example

- Characterization through Imagery and Metaphor in The Scarlet Letter         Throughout his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne reveals character through the use of imagery and metaphor.   In the first Chapter of The Scarlet Letter, "The Prison-Door", the reader is immediately introduced to the people of Puritan Boston. Hawthorne begins to develop the character of the common people in order to build the mood of the story. The first sentence begins, "A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, a...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Better Essays
1265 words (3.6 pages)