A. The Scarlet Letter. Brady Haering Pd. AB. Nathaniel Hawthorne July 4, 1804- May 19, 1864.
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Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His father died of yellow fever in 1808. He changed his name from Hathorne to Hawthorne to distinguish himself from his Puritan ancestors, whom he disagreed with in all aspects. His uncle wanted to fund his education, so that Hawthorne could be a doctor or lawyer. However, Nathaniel had no interest in these pursuits. About his college education, he said: “I do not want to be a doctor and live by men's diseases, nor a minister to live by their sins, nor a lawyer and live by their quarrels. So, I don't see that there is anything left for me but to be an author." It was ironic that he wanted nothing to do with the behaviors of humanity, considering that is what he most wrote about. He graduated in 1825 from Bowdoin College. While there, he met and befriended Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and future President Franklin Pierce. He continued to live with his mother in Salem, Massachusetts and researched his family history. His first book, Fanshawe, was published 1828 anonymously. Twice-Told Tales came in 1837. He married Sophia Peabody in 1842 and they moved to Concord, Massachusetts. In 1846 he published Mosses from an Old Manse. His literary pursuits had thus far been unsuccessful . Money was bad, so moved back with his mother, and worked in the Salem Custom House. In 1849 he found a letter A in his mom’s attic, it inspired the Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter was very successful. His wife and he then moved to Lenox, Massachusetts. They lived in a very secluded manner and were, ironically, solitary together. The House of the Seven Gables was published in 1850. Later in his life, he wrote several children’s stories based on Greek myths. His final book was the Marble Faun, published in 1860. He died of unknown causes in 1864 while on a trip with Franklin Pierce. About his death Ralph Waldo Emerson, long time critic and friend of Hawthorne, wrote: "I thought there was a tragic element in the event, that might be more fully rendered,—in the painful solitude of the man, which, I suppose, could no longer be endured, & he died of it."
Hester found her greatest conflict with the people of the community. She was ostracized and shunned for her sin. Children from a young age were taught to think of her as a symbol of shame. - Pg. 73: “Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the child of honorable parents,—at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman, —at her, who had once been innocent, —as the figure, the body, the reality of sin.”-Narrator. She accepted her fate and her punishment, though the fact that she would live her life in disgrace hurt her, deeply. –Pg. 52: “Measured by the prisoner’s experience, however, it might reckoned a journey of some length; for, haughty as her demeanor was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung in the street for them all to spurn and trample upon.”-Narrator
Dimmesdale was most at conflict within himself. He was constantly tormented by the sin he had committed and the grief was slowly killing him from the inside. -Pg. 133: "To the untrue man, the whole universe is false,- it is impalpable,- it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist. The only truth that continued to give Mr. Dimmesdale a real existence on this earth was the anguish in his inmost soul"-Narrator. He also had a shared conflict with Roger Chillingsworth. Chillingsworth had deduced that Dimmesdale was Hester’s fellow adulterer and made it his goal to torment Dimmesdale to the full extent of his powers. Dimmesdale was unaware that Chillingsworth was indeed his enemy, at first, but his intuition began to be suspicious of Chillingsworth. –Pg. 155: “With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon; as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. But it was the constant shadow of my presence!—the closest propinquity of the man whom he had most vilely wronged!--and who had grown to exist only by this perpetual poison of the direst revenge! Yea, indeed!—he did not err!—there was a fiend at his elbow! A mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment!"-Chillingsworth.
Chillingsworth’s main conflict was his already stated torment of Dimmesdale.Pearl had small conflicts through the course of the book. She became enraged at the children who threw rocks at her mother and was at first wary of Dimmesdale because of the changed that seemed to come over her mother in his presence. It seemed, through the course of the book, that some part of Pearl was able to pick up on her relationship with Dimmesdale.