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The Sc a rlet Letter

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  1. The Scarlet Letter ACADEMIC ENGLISH 11 Miss doman

  2. OBJECTIVES To obtain knowledge of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and background and how it affected his writing To understand the historical and social context in which The Scarlet Letter was written To identify key literary elements in the novel (setting, characters, mood, climax, symbols, themes) To analyze and discuss events throughout The Scarlet Letter and their implications and meanings

  3. ABOUT THE AUTHOR • About the Man • 1804-1864 • Salem, Massachusetts • Descended from prominent Puritan family • Inherited guilt • Solid accomplishment • Great guilt • Ancestor: William Hathorne • Married Sophia Peabody • Strength and nobility • Reflected in Hester Prynne

  4. Nathaniel Hawthorne • First Great American “Pro author” • First psychological novel • Redemption, sin • 4,000 copies of The Scarlet Letter sold in the first 10 days • Works • Novels • Short Stories • He believed that evil was a dominant force in the world • fiction expressed a gloomy version of human affairs

  5. “The Scarlet Letter is powerfully written but my writings do not, nor ever will, appeal to the broadest class of sympathies, and therefore will not obtain a very wide popularity.” -Hawthorne, after finishing the novel

  6. The ROMANTIC HAWTHORNE • Literary Movement known as Romanticism • concern themselves with the soul, • stress emotions over reason, • and show passions and inner struggles • Hawthorne is haunted by what is obscure, dangerous, and the confines of good and evil, and social relations • All Hawthorne’s work is one form or another of “handling sin”

  7. HISTORICAL CONTEXT SUBDIVISION OF ROMANTICISM: GOTHIC LITERATURE, the “dark romantics”(1800-1850) -use of supernatural -motif of double (both good and evil in characters; sin and evil does exist) -depression, dark forests -emphasis on symbolism

  8. The Scarlet Letter • Published 1850 • Set in 17th Century Boston—about 1690 • Puritan code of life • Main characters • Hester Prynne • Pearl Prynne • Arthur Dimmesdale • Roger Chillingworth • Spans 7 year period • The Scarlet Letter as a SATIRE

  9. The Scarlet Letter • Plot • Love triangle: wife-lover-husband • Struggle: good versus evil • Characters’ souls at stake • Suspense • Will identities of lover and husband be revealed? • How will identities be revealed? • Psychological movement: quest for revenge

  10. THEOCRACY word comes from Greek theo = God cratos = rule a theocracy is a government where the civil laws are based (in whole or in part) on religious laws; civil leaders in theocracies are probably also importantreligiousleaders

  11. The Scarlet Letter • Structure • Innovative form • Instead of ongoing chronicle of events • Series of separate, fully-realized chapters • Interspersed with expository chapters • Novel begins in media res • Action already occurred • Characters facing consequences

  12. The Scarlet Letter • Point of View (POV) • Omniscient • Author reveals inner and outer characters • Asides • Social criticism • History • Psychology • All characters in constant state of change • Theocracy • Act of adultery not important • Consequences of adultery more important

  13. The “scarlet letter” of the novel’s title refers to a scarlet letter “A” that the novel’s main character is made to wear on her clothing as punishment for her crime of adultery.

  14. Major Characters Hester Prynne Novel’s heroine Adulterer First strong female character in American literature

  15. Major Characters Pearl • Hester’s daughter • Illegitimate child • Product of adultery • Precious to her mother • Intelligent, imaginative

  16. Major Characters Arthur Dimmesdale Reverend Looked to as leader of community Popular and admired

  17. Major Characters Roger Chillingworth Scholar Doctor Sketchy

  18. Themes • Effects of Sin and Possibility of Redemption • Psychological and social consequences of sin • Characters’ processes of redemption • Applies to: • Hester • Dimmesdale • Chillingworth • Secondary Effect: Insight into the Hearts of Others

  19. Themes • Hypocrisy • Conflict between outer appearance and inner reality • Depicted in Hester’s relationship with community • Illustrated in portrayals of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth • Other Noticeable Themes • Guilt • Revenge • Human frailty and Sin • Pride • Love Vs. hate • Fate vs. Free Will • Alienation

  20. Conflicts • Man versus Society • Man versus Man • Man versus Self

  21. Symbols • The Scarlet Letter • Central symbol of novel • Meaning changes as characters change • The Scaffold • Public exposure of private since • Redemption through confession • Elements of Nature • Good and evil • Forest is changeable symbol for both

  22. Symbols

  23. Irony • Dramatic Irony • Controls novel • Readers know something about a character the other characters do not • If characters knew what readers know, plot would be ruined • Situational Irony • Central to novel’s action • Contrast between intention of an action and its result • Expectations aroused by situation are reversed • Verbal Irony • Say one thing and mean another • Throughout novel

  24. What happens when a private sin becomes a public crime?