Literary Merit

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Brown, Ashley
Detloff
English 11.1
20 September 2012
Title: The Scarlet LetterGenre: Romance
Author: Nathaniel HawthornePeriod/School: Romanticism

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem Massachusetts. In 1808, Hawthorne’s father dies of yellow fever and his mother withdraws and leaves him to be educated by his uncle, Robert Manning. In July 1820, Hawthorne write’s The Spectator, which was a newsmagazine that ran for a month. Nathaniel Hawthorne graduated from college in 1825 then isolated himself from society. During this period of isolation, Hawthorne wrote and anonymously published his first novel, Fanshawe, but the public ignored the novel. On July 31, 1849, Hawthorne’s mother, Elizabeth Hathorne, dies. Hawthorne falls into a deep depression but continues to write The Scarlet Letter and publishes it in February 1850. On May 19, 1864 Nathaniel Hawthorne dies in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Novels of Literary Merit often teach a life lesson. The Scarlet Letter reveals that revenge is a sin that can transform a human into an evil being. Hawthorne writes, “With the common ministers, he imagined himself… by the poisonous drug of revenge” (169). Roger Chillingworth was a good person until he began to seek revenge on Reverend Dimmesdale. Revenge is a sin that humans can and should avoid because God punishes all sins. When humans seek revenge, their mind, body, and spirit can change for the bad. Another theme in The Scarlet Letter is guilt. Reverend Dimmesdale feels guilty for not confessing his sin to the Puritan Community. He eventually transforms physically and mentally, which makes him become sick and weak. Hawthorne reveals that guilt can cause humans to transform themselves into different people. This is significant because he teaches a lesson that one shouldn’t keep their sins a secret because it can cause damage to one’s soul.

Works Cited:
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Nathaniel Hawthorne Timeline of Important Dates" Shmoop.com. Shmoop...
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