The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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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. Her A thoroughly isolates her and Pearl from the world around them, even in a crowd of familiar faces. Standing on the scaffold, the scarlet letter appears to burn brighter than anything else about Hester and her life, revealing the great effects that it will leave on her, described by Hawthorne as having “the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorne 51). This embodies not only the aura of Hester’s isolation, but the deep contrast between her public humiliation and Dimmesdale’s closeted sin, which only intensifies Hester’s grief and her longing to be in Dimmesdale’s position.
Hester attempts to mask her disgraceful sin with Pearl, who acts as a barrier between the world and Hester, regardless of her young age. As Hester stands in front of the whole town, the only thing she has to grasp and love is her daughter, Pearl. She is the only person who accepts Hester, which causes their connection to grow stronger. In both a loving and hostile manner, Hester grabs Pearl hard enough to force tears: “She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turne...


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...(Hawthorne 74). Although she is no longer the recipient of cold stares or mockery in the marketplace, Hester is lonesome in an entirely different manner than she used to be. She lives an independent lifestyle, one of which she is satisfied with, as opposed to being the victim of public shame. Self actualizing Hester’s life and her place in this world, she reaches authentic happiness and captivates the sympathy of her audience.
Nathaniel Hawthorne manifests Hester Prynne as a complex character, one with various personality traits and levels of emotional attachment. As her story evolves, literary devices enhance its meaning from one of guilt and shame to one that carries nostalgia and sentiment at its roots. The ability to read and interpret countless metaphorical symbols and uses of figurative language throughout has kept readers intrigued for close to 160 years.

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