This is the second of the three essays and discusses symbolism in the novel. Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses a few key symbols to represent major themes in the book. The most obvious and well known, as it is in the title, is the scarlet letter Hester is forced to wear.
His earliest American ancestor, William Hathorne Nathaniel added the w to the name when he began to writewas a magistrate who had sentenced a Quaker woman to public whipping. She moved in with her affluent brothers, the Mannings.
Hawthorne grew up in their house in Salem and, for extensive periods during his teens, in Raymond, Maine, on the shores of Sebago Lake. Hawthorne did not distinguish himself as a young man. Instead, he spent nearly a dozen years reading and trying to master the art of writing fiction. First works In college Hawthorne had excelled only in composition and had determined to become a writer.
Upon graduation, he had written an amateurish novelFanshawewhich he published at his own expense—only to decide that it was unworthy of him and to try to destroy all copies. A Discussion of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Dr. His increasing success in placing his stories brought him a little fame.
Even when his first signed book, Twice-Told Tales, was published inthe work had brought gratifying recognition but no dependable income. Hawthorne welcomed the companionship of his Transcendentalist neighbours, but he had little to say to them.
Artists and intellectuals never inspired his full confidence, but he thoroughly enjoyed the visit of his old college friend and classmate Franklin Piercelater to become president of the United States. At the Old Manse, Hawthorne continued to write stories, with the same result as before: His new short-story collection, Mosses from an Old Manse, appeared in Three years later the presidential election brought the Whigs into power under Zachary Taylorand Hawthorne lost his job; but in a few months of concentrated effort, he produced his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter.
The book made Hawthorne famous and was eventually recognized as one of the greatest of American novels. Determined to leave Salem forever, Hawthorne moved to Lenoxlocated in the mountain scenery of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. There he began work on The House of the Seven Gablesthe story of the Pyncheon family, who for generations had lived under a curse until it was removed at last by love.
At Lenox he enjoyed the stimulating friendship of Herman Melvillewho lived in nearby Pittsfield. This friendship, although important for the younger writer and his work, was much less so for Hawthorne.
But eventually Melville came to feel that the friendship he so ardently pursued was one-sided.
In the autumn of Hawthorne moved his family to another temporary residence, this time in West Newton, near Boston. There he quickly wrote The Blithedale Romancewhich was based on his disenchantment with Brook Farm.
Blithedale was disappointingly received and did not produce the income Hawthorne had expected. He was hoping for a lucrative political appointment that would bolster his finances; in the meantime, he wrote a campaign biography of his old friend Franklin Pierce.
When Pierce won the presidency, Hawthorne was in rewarded with the consulship in Liverpool, Lancashire, a position he hoped would enable him in a few years to leave his family financially secure. He performed his consular duties faithfully and effectively until his position was terminated inand then he spent a year and a half sight-seeing in Italy.
Determined to produce yet another romance, he finally retreated to a seaside town in England and quickly produced The Marble Faun. In writing it, he drew heavily upon the experiences and impressions he had recorded in a notebook kept during his Italian tour to give substance to an allegory of the Fall of man, a theme that had usually been assumed in his earlier works but that now received direct and philosophic treatment.
Back in the Wayside once more inHawthorne devoted himself entirely to his writing but was unable to make any progress with his plans for a new novel. The drafts of unfinished works he left are mostly incoherent and show many signs of a psychic regression, already foreshadowed by his increasing restlessness and discontent of the preceding half dozen years.
Some two years before his death he began to age very suddenly. He died in his sleep on a trip in search of health with his friend Pierce.
Major novels The main character of The Scarlet Letter is Hester Prynnea young married woman who has borne an illegitimate child while living away from her husband in a village in Puritan New England. Hester herself is revealed to be a compassionate and splendidly self-reliant heroine who is never truly repentant for the act of adultery committed with the minister; she feels that their act was consecrated by their deep love for each other.
Only Hester can face the future optimistically, as she plans to ensure the future of her beloved little girl by taking her to Europe. First, he was a skillful craftsman with an impressive arthitectonic sense of form.
The structure of The Scarlet Letter, for example, is so tightly integrated that no chapter, no paragraph, even, could be omitted without doing violence to the whole.
He inherited the Puritan tradition of moral earnestness, and he was deeply concerned with the concepts of original sin and guilt and the claims of law and conscience. Instead he looked more deeply and perhaps more honestly into life, finding in it much suffering and conflict but also finding the redeeming power of love.
There is no Romantic escape in his works, but rather a firm and resolute scrutiny of the psychological and moral facts of the human condition. But with Hawthorne this leads not to unconvincing pasteboard figures with explanatory labels attached but to a sombre, concentrated emotional involvement with his characters that has the power, the gravity, and the inevitability of true tragedy.
His use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter is particularly effective, and the scarlet letter itself takes on a wider significance and application that is out of all proportion to its literal character as a scrap of cloth. His greatest short stories and The Scarlet Letter are marked by a depth of psychological and moral insight seldom equaled by any American writer.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, an novel, is a work of historical fiction written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his "masterwork". Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years to , it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (–).The Scarlet Letter. The Custom-House Introductory to “The Scarlet Letter”. Hester Prynne - Hester is the book’s protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet letter that gives the book its torosgazete.com letter, a patch of fabric in the shape of an “A,” signifies that Hester is an “adulterer.” As a young woman, Hester married an elderly scholar, Chillingworth, .
quotes from The Scarlet Letter: ‘We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.’ ― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. tags: hate, heart, love. likes.
that Arthur Dimmesdale put forth his hand, chill as death, and touched the chill hand of Hester Prynne. The grasp, cold as it was, took away what was the. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most well known pieces of literature, and it definitely deserves its title as an American classic.
Here are some examples of Nathaniel Hawthorne's most familiar quotes from The Scarlet Letter. In these examples, you will see how the author touches on deep psychological and romantic themes, heavily inspired by Puritan New England.