A Scarlet I: The Use of Irony Within The Scarlet Letter

“Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.” Through this statement, Anatole France, a 1921 Nobel Prize recipient, states his belief that irony is only lighthearted reflection. However, Nathaniel Hawthorne employs irony to reveal the distinctly morose themes of The Scarlet Letter. Within the novel, Hester Prynne, a young and vibrant woman, … Read more

Hester Prynne as Heroine

In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Prynne redefines herself despite being shunned by the Puritan community. Although she has sinned, she does not dwell in the past. She grows stronger as a person from the cruelty of the townspeople and the shame they place on Hester. Though everything seems to go wrong … Read more

Hawthorne’s Ideology in The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne creates a division between the truth and a Puritan society tainted by hypocrisy. Such a division existed in Hawthorne’s life as well. Born into a historically Puritan family, Hawthorne developed an obsession with his Salemite ancestors as well as guilt for their role in the witch trials. As Hawthorne … Read more

Rereading The Scarlet Letter as a Proto-Feminist Text

The Scarlet Letter, perhaps the most notable work of prodigious American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, was first published in 1850 and has since been subject to a plethora of literary criticisms, including those from psychoanalytic, new historical, and reader-response perspectives. In each of their articles, scholars Jamie Barlowe, Jesse F. Battan, and Suzan Last aptly choose … Read more

Significance of Names in The Scarlet Letter

Why does Hawthorne give Hester Prynne the name Hester? Hawthorne himself, as is well known, changed his family name from Hathorne, to distance himself from those Puritan ancestors whose achievements and excesses haunted his fiction. The Scarlet Letter tells of Roger Prynne’s reinvention of himself by an act of naming: when he finds his wife … Read more

The Fear of Miscegenation in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the young American establishment appeared to have surmounted the instability of its formative stages. The citizens of what had originated as a disorganized and inefficient alliance of thirteen diverse territories succeeded in cultivating a nationalistic pride in the destiny of their great democracy. A new generation recognized the … Read more

Religious Oppression in The Scarlet Letter

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne has committed adultery, and her subsequent bearing of an illegitimate child has cast her beyond the pale of polite society. It is difficult for us, in the late twentieth century, to comprehend exactly what this means. She is permitted to remain in Salem, and to work among … Read more

Law of Nature Versus Man in The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates the need for humans to abide by the laws of nature and conscience, rather than the laws of man, to achieve happiness. The laws of nature, enforced only by the human conscience, govern every individual. Humans learn these laws by experiencing and interacting directly with nature. When left … Read more

Similarities between Two Hawthorne Works

Some authors experiment with various styles and techniques throughout their literary career, with distinct differences between various works. This is not true in the case of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne displays striking similarities in style and content in his works. Such similarities can be displayed between The Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown. Both works display … Read more

The Redemption of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne accepts that she has sinned and realizes that she must pay the price for her crime. In doing so she becomes overwhelmed with courage and conviction and assumes a redemption that is denied to most of her fellow townspeople. For a woman who possesses Hester’s strength … Read more

The Significance of Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter

The literature of the American Renaissance is rich in symbolism, and in no author’s work is this more evident than in that of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Perhaps the most popular of his works, The Scarlet Letter has long been dissected and analyzed by scholars and critics; repeatedly, its characters have been torn apart and examined for … Read more

Original Sin

In Hawthorne’s intricately woven tale The Scarlet Letter, his characters create a parallel theme with the Biblical story of Original Sin. By examining the characters and their interactions and insights about each other, one can examine the symbolic parallels with the Garden of Eden. One aspect of the Garden of Eden theme is portrayed by … Read more

Significance of Names in The Scarlet Letter

Why does Hawthorne give Hester Prynne the name Hester? Hawthorne himself, as is well known, changed his family name from Hathorne, to distance himself from those Puritan ancestors whose achievements and excesses haunted his fiction. The Scarlet Letter tells of Roger Prynne’s reinvention of himself by an act of naming: when he finds his wife … Read more

Rosebush and Black Weeds: Botanical Metaphors in The Scarlet Letter

Nature. It is a word that seems so expansive and all-inclusive. Within a novel, elements of nature and setting often become so expected and mundane that they are easily glossed over in order to get to the “more important” elements of a story-the plot, characters, and events. Occasionally, however, an author makes calculating and blatant … Read more

Law of Nature Versus Man in The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates the need for humans to abide by the laws of nature and conscience, rather than the laws of man, to achieve happiness. The laws of nature, enforced only by the human conscience, govern every individual. Humans learn these laws by experiencing and interacting directly with nature. When left … Read more

The Significance of Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter

The literature of the American Renaissance is rich in symbolism, and in no author’s work is this more evident than in that of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Perhaps the most popular of his works, The Scarlet Letter has long been dissected and analyzed by scholars and critics; repeatedly, its characters have been torn apart and examined for … Read more

Hester, Dimmesdale, and Puritan Society: the Id, Ego, and Superego

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is led to have an affair by her repressed unconscious desires, what Freud calls the id. Similarly, Arthur Dimmesdale struggles with his internal guilt and refuses to confess his sin; he attempts to think rationally and therefore embodies the ego. Finally, Salem itself represents the superego, which … Read more

Light and Dark in The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter employs dramatic clout within the characters with the light and dark contrast. The “blackness” did not allude to race. The dark colors underline sin and their evil, distraught intentions while the lightness emphasizes innocence and exposure. Hawthorne implies Calvinist beliefs of Innate Depravity within the color of Hester Prynne’s … Read more

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne: What’s Special about It’s Romantic Heroine

Hester Prynne is considered to be both one of the first heroines and feminist icons in American Literature. This is despite Nathaniel Hawthorne, born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, being labelled as a misogynist, threatened by the growing feminist movement. How Hawthorne portrays his female protagonist and her interactions with the overbearing society … Read more

Sin: Hawthorne’s Biblical Truth

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne writes the consequences of one sinful act in a Puritan community. This sinful act involves three main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingsworth. As The Scarlet Letter progresses, each character copes with his or her sin differently, and therefore the sin affects them differently. Shirley Guthrie writes, “There are … Read more

Disputing Feminist Themes in The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is set in 1600’s Puritan Boston. It tells the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who suffers public ignominy, forced to wear a red scarlet letter for her sin of adultery. The Scarlet Letter provides a look at the stringent laws and ideology of a heavily patriarchal Puritan … Read more

The Scarlet Letter and an Evaluation of Love Versus Hate

Love and hate require intimacy and heart-knowledge. Both emotions leave the individual subservient to the emotion and become compulsory for survival. If an emotion develops into a discernible obsession, it may eventually abandon the zealous lover or no less zealous hater disheartened and dejected once he no longer obtains the object of affection. Excessive emotion … Read more

Light and Dark in The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter employs dramatic clout within the characters with the light and dark contrast. The “blackness” did not allude to race. The dark colors underline sin and their evil, distraught intentions while the lightness emphasizes innocence and exposure. Hawthorne implies Calvinist beliefs of Innate Depravity within the color of Hester Prynne’s … Read more

Hawthorne’s Puritan Background in His Novels

Nathanial Hawthorne successfully exposed the puritanical lifestyle in its’ entirety within his celebrated novel, The Scarlet Letter. He was born during the 19th century, but set his story in the 17th century, revealing his keen knowledge on the subject of puritanism. His desire to examine the curious human nature compelled his beginning within this particular … Read more

The Presentation of Dimmesdale in “The Scarlet Letter”

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne establishes a duality between piety and sin that manifests itself in the character of Arthur Dimmesdale. Throughout the plot, Dimmesdale is presented as a faithful and religious minister. Hawthorne primarily portrays this by detailing the power of Dimmesdale’s sermons and the effects that they have on his … Read more

Hawthorne’s “Witch-Baby” in The Scarlet Letter

A few moments before Reverend Dimmsdale professes his sin to the crowd of onlookers, Hester’s hopes of escape are dashed by the knowledge that Roger Chillingworth also booked a passage on the departing ship a ship that she prayed would give her and her beloved freedom from the curse of the Scarlet Letter. Little Pearl, … Read more

The Scarlet Letter: Literature Review

The author of my book is Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts. The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, followed by his other famous book, “The House of Seven Gables” which was published in 1851. Something that is common between the two books is that they both have elements of Gothic and fiction. … Read more

Puritan Influence in Contemporary American Society

Puritans are often mischaracterized as overly strict and moral persons whose lives revolve around killjoy attitudes and laws against all innocent social pleasures. Qualities of sympathy, charity, and compassion are rarely tied to Puritanism or seen as characteristics that exemplified their way of life. (Newberry, 101) In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” however, these traits … Read more

Sin’s Evolution in The Scarlet Letter

Evolution is defined as “a process of change”(Webster’s Dictionary), and it has been proved many times in the past that sin is a direct process that leads to change in one’s spiritual as well as fleshly life. The three main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, are all revealed … Read more

Dimmesdale’s Progression through the Scaffold Scenes

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dramatic novel, The Scarlet Letter, exposes the hypocrisy of a seventeenth-century Puritan society through the lives of two sinners, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne. Both have committed a sin that ultimately strengthens them. Although Dimmesdale conceals his sin from public scrutiny during the majority of his life, he undergoes a significant metamorphosis. … Read more

Hester's Isolation and Alienation in The Scarlet Letter

Hester’s Isolation and Alienation in The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale have committed adultery, an unacceptable sin during the Puritan times. As a result of their sin, a child is born, whom the mother names Pearl. Out of her own free will, Hester has to face major … Read more

The Sin of Beauty in The Scarlet Letter

Beauty, in every form and aspect, is regarded by the general population as the eighth deadly sin. This becomes strikingly evident throughout the examination of Hester’s plight. Hester Prynne, a radiant example of elegance, begins to find reconciliation in the eyes of the public only once she extinguishes her flame of beauty. Throughout The Scarlet … Read more

The Puritan Society in N. Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”

In the introductory sketch to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel the “The Scarlet Letter”, the reader is informed that one of the author’s ancestors persecuted the Quakers harshly. The latter’s son was a high judge in the Salem witch trials, put into literary form in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” (Judge Hathorne appears there). We learn that Hawthorne … Read more

The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale

In Nathaniel Hawthorn’s torrid tale of The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale, a main character, is confronted with a number of circumstances, both in and out of his control, that lead to his ultimate demise. Dimmsedale is a weak cowardly man. Arthur Dimmesdale, a minister, lives his life under the watchful yet admiring eye of the … Read more

The Distinguishing between Hester and Dimmesdale

Both Hester and Dimmesdale, are characters in the Scarlet Letter. They suffer with the guilt of the sin of adultery that they committed. At the time, the Puritans looked down on this type of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale can be compared and contrast in the way they handled their scarlet letter, their cowardliness, and their … Read more

The Crucible vs The Scarlet Letter

Two hundred years ago, the church was the center of life in many New England towns. The church provided not only religions guidance but, was a place for social gathering and a chance for neighbors to keep in touch. This is shown in depth in Boston, by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter and in Salem, … Read more

The Crucible Vs The Scarlet Letter

Two hundred years ago, the church was the center of life in many New England towns. The church provided not only religions guidance but, was a place for social gathering and a chance for neighbors to keep in touch. This is shown in depth in Boston, by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter and in Salem, … Read more

Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthornes book, The Scarlet Letter, uses physical appearance to mirror a characters physiological or spiritual state. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember as having taken a brief part in the scene of Hester Prynnes disgrace, is a complex character. The young minister, whose health had severely suffered, of late, by his too … Read more

A Critical Analysis of Hester Prynne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1849. This novel won him much fame and a good reputation as a writer. In writing The Scarlet Letter, Hawethorne was creating a form of fiction he called the psychological romance. A psychological romance is a story that contains all of the conventional trappings of a … Read more

The novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester’s experiences in and out of the Puritan society and the weight of the scarlet letter change her in many ways, including her level of confidence, her appearance and her outlook on the Puritan people, and the way she feels about the letter “A”. Due to … Read more

Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a compelling story which explores the inner emotions of the human mind, spirit, and the heart. Set around the 1640s in a Boston Puritan society, it focuses on the moral issue revolving around the virtue of truth and the evil of secret sin. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a man of … Read more

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism is a clever technique used by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his infamous novel The Scarlet Letter. Some of the symbols that are conveyed in this novel are very easy to decipher. However, some of the symbols could be hard to unmask. Therefore, the reader is forced to analyze the material thoroughly in order to get … Read more

Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne’s novel describes the life of an adulteress, Hester Prynne, who is shunned by her judgmental community. She gave birth to her daughter Pearl out of wedlock, while her “partner of iniquity,”(Hawthorne 59) a minister named Arthur Dimmesdale, never revealed his “black secret” of their affair. Although Hester suffered public ridicule, the minister suffered no … Read more

Chillingworth as Satan in The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is a novel packed with religious symbolism, and Hawthorne subtly assigns the role of the devil to Roger Chillingworth. Throughout the novel, there are many references and associations that confirm the fact that Chillingworth is representative of the ultimate evil. First, Hawthorne sets Chillingworth up as the antithesis of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, … Read more

Roger Chillingworth, a great man indeed

Today there are not many people that have a good strong set of morals, and yet there are some people that have to strong a set. Those with not enough morals commit crimes and do not have good reason or do not care about the consequences. While those with too strong of morals do not … Read more

Pearl: Believable Or Not

Throughout the book Pearl either says or does things that are not typical of a girl of her age. After Hester talks to Chillingworth, Pearl is asked if she knows why Hester wears the scarlet letter. Pearl replies, It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart. I do … Read more