The Scarlet Letter: Gray

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Scarlet Letter Assignment
Topic: Gray

Part I- Cite six times in the book where your topic appears and analyze how those instances relate to the meaning of the work as a whole.

1.“A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray” (33).

The color gray adds to the atmosphere of the day, the day of judgment for Hester. The people of this Puritan town are close-minded and dull, all represented by the color grey.

2.“ She bore in her arms a child, a baby if some three months old, who winked and turned aside its little face from the two vivid light of day; because its existence, therefore, had brought it acquainted only with the gray twilight of dungeon, or other darksome apartment if the prison” (36)

When in the dungeon Hester spoke to no one and would not admit to anything, because she concealed her secrets. The color gray connotes secrets and hiding. Once Hester and Pearl depart from the prison for the first time the gray of the dungeon disappears and the secrets can now be found out—this admission being a major plot in the novel. This is the moment when the secrets break free and begin to unfold.

3.“Standing on that miserable eminence, she saw again her native village, in Old England, and her paternal home: a decayed house of grey stone, with a poverty-stricken aspect, but retaining a half obliterated shield of arms over the portal, in token of antique gentility” (40).

When leaving the jail, Hester gazed at her hometown. However, she was not filled with nostalgia or wistfulness. Rather, she looked out and saw her family’s poverty stricken house, though it was noticeable that it was once of high nobility. Those who were once elite and considered noble people are now in poverty and being trialed for murder. Grey connotes this transition. It is dull, boring, and is not red, blue, and purple, which are the colors that aristocrats wore at that time. When leaving the jail Hester realizes that everything has turned to grey—life...
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