by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthorne:. Hawthorne once said: “I do not want to be a doctor and live by man’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.”.
Nathaniel Hawthorne author
(from Hawthorne’s time)
Narrator finds manuscript in Customs House written by Jonathan Pue from 100 years before narrator works there.
Pue’s manuscript tells the story of Hester Prynne of 100 years before Pue’stime.
Created by Mrs. W. Warren
1 of the color scarlet
2 a: grossly and glaringly offensive <sinning in flagrant and scarlet fashion -- characterized by, or associated with sexual immorality <a scarlet woman>
Middle English scarlat, scarlet, from Anglo-French escarlet, from Medieval Latin scarlata, from Persian saqalAt, a kind of rich cloth
1: scarlet cloth or clothes
2: any of various bright reds
Main Entry: scarlet letter
Function: noun: a scarlet A worn as a punitive mark of adultery
Main Entry: 1pu·ri·tanFunction: nounEtymology: probably from Late Latin puritas purity1capitalized: a member of a 16th and 17th century Protestant group in England and New England opposing as unscriptural the ceremonial worship and the prelacy of the Church of England2 one who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails
See Endicott and the Red Cross Chapter at the end of the book.
1)It is a cultural allegory and structurally compact.
are knitted together
in the beginning, the middle, and the end
All the four major characters are at the scene.
People offer different views concerning the sign of the letter “A” on the dead minister's chest. The author doesn't give his views. So, people come up with different interpretations.
3)It is a kind of romance:
Two lovers come together, finally united in death.
4)Hawthorne's use of the supernatural:
The appearance of the symbol “A” in the sky is: in twilight atmosphere, all things, natural or otherwise, may become probable.
5) His use of symbols—
the central symbol
the scarlet letter “A”
“A” appears in the sky
a token of shame
The main characters
attractive, appealing, intelligent, capable
Passionate—has a love affair with Dimmesdale
strong and stoic—she endures years of shame and scorn
contemplative—speculates on human nature, social organization, and larger moral questions.
maternal—moderates her tendency to be rash; cares for the poor and brings them food and clothing
a protofeminist mother figure to the women of the community
Attractive, appealing, intelligent, capable
Passionate—has a love affair with Dimmesdale
Strong and stoic—she endures years of shame and scorn
Contemplative—speculates on human nature, social organization, and larger moral questions.
Maternal—moderates her tendency to be rash; cares for the poor and brings them food and clothing
—a protofeminist mother figure to the women of the community
A“her passport into regions where other women dared not tread”
She desires to determine her own identity rather than to allow others to determine it for her
She is determined to transform its meaning through her actions and her own self-perception
She is unwilling to erase her past deed and her past decisions
She is not the example of sin that she was once intended to be. Rather, she is an example of redemption and self-empowerment.
1.That Hester takes all of the blame for their shared sin goads his conscience, and is the cause of his resultant mental anguish.
2.The townspeople do not believe Dimmesdale’s protestations of sinfulness. This drives Dimmesdale to further internalize his guilt and self-punishment and leads to still more deterioration in his physical and spiritual condition.
A theme is not the “topic”, but rather an idea about the topic that an author wants to put forth.
EXAMPLE: The topic of a love story is, of course, love. The theme, however, may be that real love goes beyond outer beauty and focuses on the person within.
Focuses his attention on the moral, emotional, and psychological effects of the sin on the people
Everybody is potentially a sinner, and great moral courage is indispensable for the improvement of human nature.
The book is an examination of the forces that shape Hester and the transformations those forces effect; it is a hymn on the moral growth of the woman when sinned against.
confesses her guilt, faces the future optimistically，helps others
hides his guilt first
morally degrades others by his pursuit of revenge
Undergoes physical and spiritual torments
is able to construct her life, wins a moral success,
EXAMPLE: A Skull and Crossbones is a symbol of poisonous substances or something dangerous.