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The Scarlet Letter
The novel The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, had many various turning points. The most interesting to me were the ³scaffold scenes.² Each had its own exciting moments. It kept the story moving. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the ³scenes² as major turning points.
In chronological order, the first ³scaffold scene² was what started the novel. The book opened right where Hester and Pearl were on the scaffold. In this scene, Hester and her baby are standing on the scaffold in front of the entire village. Everyone one is staring and whispering. She is bearing a strange symbol on her bosom. This symbol is a large letter ³A.² It is quite fancy. But the letter is not something to be proud of. As Hester is standing there holding her baby, Pearl, she spots a very strange man moving through the crowd of people. The man stares at her. Hester acts like she has some connection with this strange man. Hester and the man look at each other as if they have known each other before. They are more than acquaintances.
This scene is a turning point because it introduces you to the scarlet letter. The letter is what the entire book revolves around. All of the events are based on the letter and what it symbolizes in the story. Hester is bearing it for the first time. The letter means adultery. The scene is also a turning point because it shows the connection with the strange man (Roger Chillingworth.) Roger Chillingworth is a new character being introduced. The hidden relationship between Hester and Chillingworth will lead to many events and turn the story in a different direction that is not just about the scarlet letter, but about Hester¹s past.
The second ³scaffold scene² is also a very big turning point. This is where Hester, Pearl (who has matured over the amount of time), and Dimmesdale (the village¹s minister) are holding each other¹s hands on the town¹s scaffold at night with no one seeing them. Dimmesdale is the man who has had the affair with Hester. No one in the story knows this yet. As the three stand there on the scaffold, Pearl asks Dimmesdale to stand with them on the scaffold the next day in front of the village. Dimmesdale refuses to do so. He does not want anyone to know about his affair with Hester. He is trying to keep his reputation intact.
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This scene is a turning point because Dimmesdale¹s fear is revealed. He is very afraid to have the town know what he has done. He is the minister who is supposed to be a role model to the people. The villagers look up to him. They have this picture of him as being this great and very holy man. He wants people to keep this picture of him. This characteristic of Dimmesdale¹s character leaves Hester bearing the load of guilt and shame by herself even though he was just as much of the affair as she was. Dimmesdale should be taking responsibility for what he did. An affair has two people involved, not one. This scene is going to put Dimmesdale through a lot of emotional turmoil in the pages ahead. He is being pulled in different directions. He is trying to decide whether he should confess and set himself free and also make Hester and Pearl very happy. Or should he keep his reputation and continue to be loved and admired by the town. Dimmesdale will continue to have many conflicting emotions through out the rest of the story.
The last ³scaffold scene² is where Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale stand on the scaffold together at last in front of the entire village. As Dimmesdale starts to speak to everyone, he confesses what he has done. He speaks about how he has committed adultery with Hester. He rips off the clothes hiding the scarlet letter and bears the letter for the town to see. With the letter still on display, Dimmesdale continues to speak and finally, after his speech, he passes away. He had finally set himself free of the secrets, lies, and the physical and mental torture that damaged his health and life severely.
This last scene is a turning point and an ending. Dimmesdale¹s death makes a dramatic change in the story, but also brings it to a close. It is a turning point because Hester and Pearl are left without him. So is Chillingworth (Dimmesdale¹s doctor.) Many things can happen since his death after his confession. The death of Dimmesdale is also a closing because it was a closure. It finished the main problem in the story and left few things to be done in the rest of the story. The death was a climatic moment. It brought everything together. The lies, the pain, the relationship with Pearl, and the torture with Chillingworth. In just one scene, everything that had happened in the story ended. Dimmesdale¹s relationship with Chillingworth was at an end, the confusing relationship with Pearl was no longer a threat, and Dimmesdale¹s pain, physically and emotionally, was over after he confessed and passed on.
These few scenes made dramatic and very interesting twists thought out the entire novel. Each scene had its own important role. The scaffold scenes were very simple and easy to follow turning points making it easy to read.