Analysis of the Scarlet Letter 1

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne Pages: 4 (1147 words) Published: August 18, 2011
Meredith Byram
Mrs. Allinder
English 9 A4
23 February 2009

“It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human fatality and sorrow,” (Hawthorne 44). In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, light and dark are used to compare and contrast the inner nature of Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale, All of these characters describe the theme of sin and suffering, but throughout their own struggles they strive and succeed to end up on the other end of the spectrum.

“Ah, but,” she interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by the hand, “let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will always be in her heart,” (Hawthorne 47). Hester’s sin will always be a part of her soul, no matter how deeply she buries it. The scarlet A helps her to stop living her life a lie and forces her to show her sin to society, leaving her with nothing else to hide ( Morey 64). Hester is forced to set everything she has hidden free because her mistake and sin. Her life is turned into sorrow and denial leaving her a part of the dark side according to society’s view.

Dimmesdale and Hester, at the time Pearl is conceived, only thought of themselves and their love instead of thinking about the depth of their sin (Morey 91). Their selfishness makes Hester rebel and cause the community to view her rebellion and defiance even deeper. Hester does not realize that she is only burying herself deeper, along with Pearl and secretly Dimmesdale also.

“To Hester’s eye, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale exhibited no symptom of positive or vivacious suffering, except that, as little Pearl had remarked, he kept his own hand over his heart,” (Hawthorne 177). This hand that is over Dimmesdale’s heart is covering up his own sin and causes him to have his own scarlet letter. Dimmesdale’s truth constantly is knocking at his heart and soul, begging for a chance to be revealed. He drives himself...

Cited: Bloom, Harold, ed. Nathaniel Hawthorne: Bloom’s Major Novelists. Broomall: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.
Gerber, John C., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Scarlet Letter. Eaglewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1968.
Morey, Eileen, ed. Readings on The Scarlet Letter. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.
Nagel, James, ed. Critical Essays on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Boston: G.K. Hall and Co., 1988.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
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