The Scarlett Letter Essay Research Paper Scarlet

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The Scarlett Letter Essay, Research Paper Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in Salem, Massachusetts, 1804, published The Scarlet Letter in1850. Since it was first published , The Scarlet Letter has never been out of print,nor out of favor with the literary critics. It is inevitably included in listings of the five or ten greatest American novels. Considered to be the best of Nathaniel Hawthorne s writings, it may also be the most typical. The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne s masterpiece and his most profound exploration of sin, alienation, and spiritual regeneration.(1 Buckner) In form it is a nearly perfect example of the static, pictorial design that Hawthorne s dreamvision of the world demanded, given texture and solidity by the detailed representation of the

Puritan-New England world of a hundred years before the date of its writing that is the scene of the story.(2 Mizener) The novel traces the social, moral, psychological, and spiritual- of Hester Prynne s adulterous relationship with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale on four people: the lovers themselves, their daughter, Pearl, Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester s husband.(1) Each of these characters: Hester, Pearl, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, have different characteristics that help depict the story s plot. Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman who has sinned but is forgiven.(5) As the representative of individuality, Hester, rather than subjecting herself to the law, subjects it to her own scrutiny; she takes herself as a law. She is not, by nature, rebellious; and

during the seven-year period of The Scarlet Letter s action, she certainly attempts to accept the judgment implicit in the letter. The native strength of her character is certainly abetted by the fact that, as a young woman in a society dominated by aging men, she has no public importance. In fact, while the outward Hester performs deeds of mercy and kindness throughout the seven years, the inward Hester grows ever more alienated and over time becomes- what she was not at first-a genuine revolutionary and social radical. Had she spoken her thoughts, she probably would have suffered death from the stern tribunals of the period, for attempting to undermine the foundations of the Puritan establishment . (3 Baym) The world s law was no law for her mind. It was an age in which the

human intellect, newly emancipated, had taken a more active and a wider range than for many centuries before. Men of the sword had overthrown and rearranged-not actually, but within the sphere of theory, which was their most real abode-the whole system of ancient prejudice, wherewith was linked much of an ancient principle. Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known of it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatized by the scarlet letter.(3) Without going beyond the license that Hawthorne allows, one might allegorize Hester as good power, which is, after all, precisely what, in the basic structural scheme of all narrative, one looks for in

a hero. The power is remarkable in that its existence seems so improbable in an outcast woman.(3 Baym) The scarlet letter A soon became known as meaning able . (4 Hawthorne) Had there been a Papist among the crowd of Puritans, he might have seen in this beautiful woman, so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of Divine Maternity, ….. something to remind him , indeed, by contrast, of the sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world. Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life working such effect, that the world was only the darker for them.(2 Mizener) Pearl s name had a symbolic meaning, that meant bought at a great price . (4)She was dressed to mimic the