“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 medicine’, said he. But how could the young minister say so, when, with every successive Sabbath, his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before,--when it had now become a constant habit, rather than a casual gesture, to press his hand over his heart?” (Hawthorne 97) Dimmesdale could no longer live alone, for the town leadership had suggested Chillingwor...
... middle of paper ...
...ble of withholding the truth any further and the scaffold acted as a catalyst for the discharge of his sin. Thus, confirming for all three scenes that this setting resembled the contradictory notion of innate honesty to the theme of secrets destroy the beholder.
A multitude of themes and symbols contributed to the novel The Scarlet Letter; but the central idea that secrets eradicated the secret-keeper and in contrast, authenticity was natural represented the work as a whole. 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 odyssey.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
930 words (2.7 pages)
- In the novel the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character Hester Prynne sinned by committing adultery which changes her identity while she wears the Scarlet Letter. “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity” (Erik Erikson). The way the scarlet letter defines Hester as someone who sinned in her society. The way that her society reacted to her with the scarlet letter, made her question her identity of who she is with the scarlet letter.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1343 words (3.8 pages)
- When the fate of the scarlet letter encompasses the beholder, it transforms their souls into the symbolic image of Yin VS. Yang. A common Chinese symbol that displays good vs. evil. As the essence of good (Yang) exists through charitable acts, and those who live life with an open heart. Whereas, the power, and the darker side of the light (Yin) comes through as being hidden from society, and relating symbols in life to the underworld. Two opposite sides of the spectrum clashing against one another to coincide.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1437 words (4.1 pages)
- Pranav Damera Mr. Mackechnie English Period 6 9 May 2015 “A” in the Scarlet Letter According to Webster Dictionary, adultery is sex between a married person and someone who is not that person 's wife or husband. Even though this is still considered immoral nowadays, it is not dealt with as harshly by countries today as the Puritans. The scarlet letter “A” in the Scarlet Letter has many different meanings throughout the book. The “A” serves as a symbol throughout and helps show the suffering and strength of Hester Prynne as a character.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1618 words (4.6 pages)
- Throughout the course of history, the concept of women being subordinate to men has always existed. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a woman named Hester Prynne tries to break prejudicial notions against women in a patriarchal society. In the story, Hester commits the crime of adultery and is sentenced by the government to wear a scarlet letter as it symbolizes ignominy. Since she lives in Puritan New England, the people do not value women a lot, her actions becomes a sight of public scrutiny.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
2438 words (7 pages)
- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1855 words (5.3 pages)
- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, adversity hinders Hester Prynne in her lust for prosperity. Hester struggles to accept her doomed fate brought on by the adultery she committed a few years back. Constantly reminded by the scarlet ‘A’ embroidered on her chest and her little Pearl, Hester struggles to break free and move on from her past. Society’s prevalent judgment, Hester’s strength, and her personal relationships keep her in the center of her sin in Massachusetts as she toils with her guilt and the secret of who father’s little Pearl.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
999 words (2.9 pages)
- The Other F-Word: Feminism in The Scarlet Letter The concept of feminism is defined as “political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (Merriam-Webster). Contrary to prior belief, it is not raising women above men. This was a fear held by many men in the nineteenth century. Therefore, Hawthorne was restricted in how he made the characters of The Scarlet Letter powerful within the society by what society feared. Throughout the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to write a novel that is ahead of its time by showing feminist tendencies through Hester, however the constraints of his society and that of Puritan society force his writing to portray women in a negative light.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
990 words (2.8 pages)
- Near the great Atlantic, in the early Puritan settlement of Boston, heinous sins, those of adultery and hypocrisy, threaten the Puritans holy way of life. Secrets, lies, and deceptions cloud the air in this 17th century town, and once unraveled, lead three once pure hearts into destruction. A simple, scarlet letter “A” comes to represent the errors of these characters, and the corruption of their once unadulterated souls. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the theme that even well-meaning secrets and deceptions can lead to destruction.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1640 words (4.7 pages)
- For many people, a sin of significant magnitude is a burden that may live with them for the rest of their lives. The effects of this sin can manifest in many ways, be it mentally, physically, or spiritually. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are all living with an enormous burden of sin, each reflecting their inner torture caused by this sin differently. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys the effects of sin on each character through Hester’s ostracism from society, both physically and emotionally due to her sin of adultery, through Dimmesdale’s sickness and self- inflicted suffering due to his sin of hypocrisy, and through Chillingworth’s transformatio... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1155 words (3.3 pages)