Literary Techniques In The Scarlet Letter

1240 Words5 Pages
The Scarlet Letter: The Effects of Literary Techniques Jane Austen once said “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives”. Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, tells the story of the life of Hester Prynne, an adulteress, forced to wear a Scarlet “A” on her bosom by the sinister Puritan society to mark her shame. As her husband seeks revenge for the unidentified lover, Arthur Dimmesdale stays wracked with guilt. One motive that can be seen behind Hawthorne’s writing The Scarlet Letter was to show how women can be equally as strong and independent as men and how men can also be morally weak. Hawthorne uses his abilities…show more content…
For example, Chillingworth is described as a leech sucking the blood out of the patient, such as in chapter 10, the title “The Leech and His Patient”. In the beginning of the chapter, Hawthorne says, “He now dug into the poor clergyman's heart, like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man's bosom, but likely to find nothing save mortality and corruption” (Hawthorne 88). The minor searching for gold is implying the truth whilst destroying what or who holds it. “... while the shadow of his figure, which the sunlight cast upon the floor” (Hawthorne 79), with the theme of light popping up from the darkness this metaphor isn't all about light. In this metaphor we notice the sunlight creating a shadow and how evil can come from good, or in this case the light. In chapter 8 we see a metaphor based on a common symbol, flowers, and what this represents is the idea of beauty and goodness coming from evil and darkness. “... had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses, that grew by the prison-door” (Hawthorne 76). Hawthorne uses this to argue strict and unforgiving beliefs in religious societies. Hester whispers to Pearl, “We must not always talk in the marketplace about what happens to us in the forest” (Hawthorne 164). Hester's response is a…show more content…
The Scarlet Letter takes place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 17th century, this is where the Puritans settled after leaving the New World because they wanted to “purify” the Church of England. The Puritans were a section of Protestant Christians influenced by Calvinism, they idealized that salvation is predestined. Hawthorne sets the scene of the first chapter with a dark and gloomy effect, the dark nature of the prison settled in the “vicinity of Cornhill” (Hawthorne 33), by early settlers.The prison is described as an “ugly edifice” (Hawthorne 33) and “black flower of civilized society” (Hawthorne 33) with weeds growing in front of the shadowy structure where groups of Puritans dressed in their normal boring clothes gather. The prison, the forest, the scaffold and Hester's cottage are all settings that display sin and its consequences derived from shame and suffering. Creating punishment from sin, the Puritans have a strict code that believes in punishing sins of all kinds including adultery. This leads to Hester being put into prison and forced to wear the Scarlet “A” on her bosom. Hesters lives in a prison of indifference while Dimmesdale lived in a prison of his own secrets and sins, Chillingworth is imprisoned by his own need for revenge. The forest is where people did what they wanted, for example, this is where Dimmesdale

    More about Literary Techniques In The Scarlet Letter

      Open Document