The Scarlet Letter Essay Research Paper Jessica

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The Scarlet Letter Essay, Research Paper Jessica Clay The Weed That Becomes Uprooted Nathaniel Hawthorne s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is full of symbols. The names of characters and images, portrayed throughout the novel, have symbolic meaning. Roger Prynne returns to his wife in Boston only to find she has committed adultery. He changes his name to Roger Chillingworth in hopes of finding out who is the father of his wife s daughter. He becomes obsessed with revenge. The word chilling has the synonyms cold, unfriendly, and depressing. Chillingworth s name is a symbol that foreshadows the effects of revenge on his mind, body, and soul. Throughout his work Hawthorne makes use of, symbols which often are so commonplace and natural as to escape notice (Turner 151). The story and

symbolism of The Scarlet Letter give plausibility to the statement that this novel is Hawthorne s finest piece of work. With respect to symbolism, The Scarlet Letter is very unique among Hawthorne s other work. In the habit of seeing meanings in everything, he thought in symbols and wrote in symbols (Turner 151). There is not a problem securing a symbolic status, as the focus of the book is the written significance of the symbol. The symbolic method is inherent in the subject, just as the subject of symbolism is inherent in the method (Feidelson Jr. 69). The effect of the symbol of the A on Chillingworth is complete in his mind, body, and soul, as he has become completely emerged in a symbolic role. Hawthorne uses Roger Chillingworth s name to give the reader insight as to what

his character is like. Throughout the novel, Chillingworth s personality grows to become the symbol of darkness (Hull 143). As Hester s husband, Chillingworth feels it is his responsibility to find the guilty man who committed adultery with his wife. Foreshadowing into his growing obsession with revenge is apparent when Hester and Chillingworth encounter each other for the first time since Hester since Hester left her husband in Europe to settle in Boston and await his arrival. When she refuses to confess to Chillingworth who her lover is, he says, Believe me, Hester, there are a few things whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of thought few things hidden from the man who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a

mystery (Hawthorne 75). Chillingworth is essentially saying that he will not rest until he finds the man who has Hester s heart. He slowly evolves from a man capable of love to a man capable of the greatest sin in the novel: Violating the sanctity of the human heart. Chillingworth was capable of love: My heart was a habitation large enough for many guest, but lonely and chill, and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream, -old as I was, and somber as I was, and as misshapen as I was, – that the simple bliss, which is scattered far and wide, for all mankind to gather up, might yet be mine. And so, Hester, I drew thee to my heart, into it s inner most chamber, and sought to warm thee by the warmth which thy presence made there! (Harthorne

75). After his discovery, Chillingworth moves closer to the scaffold and imperiously bids her to name the father of her child (Martin 113). He was disappointed that his hope of gaining his wife s affection upon arrival was destroyed and he hated the man who had gained that affection. Although his anger was understandable and forgivable, it became a fatal sin when he nourished it (Abel 209). Chillingworth begins to suspect that Dimmesdale is Pearl s father when Reverend Dimmesdale and Governor Billingham are trying to take Pearl away from Hester. Dimmesdale gives an eloquent representation for Hester, and Chillingworth says You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness (Hawthorne 115). It is with this suspicion that Chillingworth begins to show special interest in Dimmesdale. .