Scarlet Letter

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Evil, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 6 (2064 words) Published: March 1, 2013
Question # 1| Textual References/Observations| Reactions and Reflections (Commentary on the textual references)| Reference the word “ignominy” in Ch. 2, Ch. 3, and Ch. 7. Comment on why Hawthorne repeatedly uses the word, in terms of purpose.| “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped.” “…the human head is its tight grasp, and thus holding it up to the public gaze. The very ideal of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron.” | Hawthorne uses the word ignominy so much because the town punishes her by having her stand in the middle of the town’s people to suffer from public shame. In chapter two they had her walking in the market with her scarlet letter on her chest so everybody can see that she has sinned. People are trying to figure out how somebody that beautiful can commit a crime so big like that. They also talk about how others that committed adultery they were killed. With Hester they made here where a visible “A” which stood for adultery on all of her clothes on her chest so any where she goes she will have ignominy. That’s why he used ignominy and it last throughout the whole book. | | -Citation (Pg 754,Pg 784, Chapter 2)| |

Question # 2| Textual References/Observations| Reactions and Reflections (Commentary on the textual references)| In Ch. 2, what is being juxtaposed throughout the chapter? Cite the items juxtaposed and explain why Hawthorne does this.| “She bore in her arms a child, a baby of some three months old who winked….“On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter “A”“When the young woman- the mother of this child- stood fully revealed before the crowd….her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom, not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, by as to conceal a certain token,…..| In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses many symbols in order to provide a connection between them. In other words a form of comparison is sought out to be made. One such example, is clear in the fact that Hester has the scarlet “A” on her chest representing adultery and she keeps her child Pearl in her arms both in close proximity to her heart. Both the letter and her child are near her heart showing a significance between Hester’s beliefs. Although she is chastised for her behavior she wears and bores the letter A above her chest with a form of acceptance and pride. She also does this with her handling of her baby. It in some way symbolizes the human condition that the heart of an individual is filled with good or evil beliefs and desires. | | -Citaition (Pg 50-51, Chapter 2)| |

Question # 3| Textual References/Observations| Reactions and Reflections (Commentary on the textual references)| When Hester is on display the townspeople fail to identify the most obvious element of her sin. What is the element? What literary device is being used in Ch. 2?| “Ah, but” interposed a woman, “let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart.”“This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die.”Could it be true? She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast that it sent forth a cry….these were her realities-all else had vanished.| One of the most prominent and otherwise ignored elements of Hester’s sin is the obvious birth of an illegitimate child, however, the townspeople fail to see this as they focus more heavily on the embroided “A” on Hester’s chest. In this time period this seems to make sense, since the ideas of that time when dealing with sin was to simply publicize it. By Hester wearing the “A” one can visualize her as a mere adulterer. In a way, Hawthorne makes Hester into...
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