The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a Romanticist novel in The Custom House in Boston in the 1830s. The setting of The Scarlet Letter was crucial to the development of the narrative because it shows how much freedom people had at that point in time. The strong Puritan influence on New England also contributes to the atmosphere and tone throughout the novel. The characters in The Scarlet Letter are Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Reverend John Wilson, Roger Chillingworth, The Governor of Boston and Mistress Hibbins.
The protagonist, Hester Prynne is a woman who was punished because she committed adultery with an unknown man. The antagonist in The Scarlet Letter would have to be the far-reaching consequences for Hester’s punishment. The protagonist of The Scarlet Letter is Hester Prynne because she deals with all the factors that affect her situation which leads to growth throughout the text even though she did not start out as a strong character. The main conflict in The Scarlet Letter is between Hester and society because people want to conform to society which makes them accuse Hester of crimes that she did not commit.
The protagonist’s conflict with herself is the internal conflict and with society is external because she deals with negative feedback from society and guilt and shame which leads her to feel like no one can help her. The protagonist changes throughout The Scarlet Letter as a person because she goes from being victimized to being the victimizer when she starts helping others also during The Scarlet Letter, Hester owns up for what she does as opposed to hiding it away which shows strength as a character.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses foreshadowing techniques such as dreams and symbolism to hint at future events in the text. The first example of foreshadowing would be Arthur Dimmesdale having nightmares about Pearl causing his illness because The Scarlet Letter shows that Dimmesdale cannot handle his guilt so he becomes ill. The second example of foreshadowing would be Pearl getting the scarlet letter because she is responsible for Dimmesdale’s illness and The Scarlet Letter also makes it known that Hester does not like Pearl to begin with, but now this adds more problems within their relationship.
The period The Scarlet Letter takes place in is The Custom House in Boston in the 1830s which can be seen as post-colonial because at this point there were no more Native Americans living there. The time period before The Scarlet Letter was colonial where white men fought against Native Americans like in The Maypole Of Merry Mount. The theme of The Scarlet is found throughout the text by having a theme of guilt and punishment. The symbolism in The Scarlet Letter comes from the characters to Pearl’s scarlet letter, The Governor’s Letter ‘A’ and The Maypole Of Merry Mount.
The main symbols in The Scarlet Letter are Hester Prynne wearing the scarlet letter A for adultery, The Governor having an ‘A’ on his chest because he is apart of the court that sentenced her to wear it and Arthur Dimmesdale gets sick whenever Pearl says “the minister is at the Maypole” because he truly loves her but cannot show it. The literary technique used in The Scarlet Letter would be foreshadowing techniques such as dreams and symbolism which were mentioned before this paragraph. The theme found throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne would be guilt and punishment because Hester Prynne is the victim of her own wrongdoing.
The theme found throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is not finding freedom because Hester cannot escape wearing the scarlet letter even though she does love Dimmesdale even though he stands for what The Puritans stand for. The influence on The Scarlet Letter would be Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Custom House where he worked before writing The Scarlet Letter which adds realism to The Scarlet Letter along with historical references that can be considered true. The tone found throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a sad tone because a lot of bad things happen in this text.
The irony in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn is when Arthur Dimmesdale is preaching to The Puritans about how Pearl is not of The Devil because she is The Devil. The conflicts in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne are the protagonist’s conflict with herself and society, also Hester Prynne’s conflict with The Governor of Boston after The A on her chest becomes bigger. The tone found throughout The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is depressing because so many bad things happen to characters like Arthur Dimmesdale dying and Hester getting pregnant for Pearl’s father then having to give her away at birth.
How does this text relate to other texts on the same topic? The Scarlet Letter relates to other texts on the same topic because it shows that if someone commits a crime they will always be remembered for it even if The Puritans do not believe in The Scarlet Letter as a punishment. The text The Custom House relates to The Scarlet Letter because Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Custom House before The Scarlet Letter which makes it similar and The Custom House happens in the same time period as The Scarlet Letter with Nathaniel Hawthorne working at that post before writing and publishing The Scarlet Letter.
Is this text readable? Can someone read this and understand what is going on throughout? It is understandable if someone reads The Scarlet Letter even though it has some challenging words within the book like adultery, but most of the vocabulary used in The Scarlet Letter is pretty simple so anyone can comprehend what Nathaniel Hawthorne was trying to convey through his novel. Would you recommend this text to readers from your country? Why or why not?
I would recommend The Scarlet Letter to readers because The Scarlet Letter has a lot of great messages that can be taken away by readers even though The Scarlet Letter is a long text. I would not recommend The Scarlet Letter for readers from my country because The Scarlet Letter has some bad words and themes which may offend people from my country even if The Scarlet letter was written in 1850’s America. What period do you think the author wrote the text? What historical evidence supports this idea?
I believe Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter during the 19th century based on The Custom House where he worked before writing The Scarlet Letter, also The Maypole Of Merry Mount which was a Puritan symbol of sinfulness before John Endicott took The Maypole of The Puritans then Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter. The Custom House was written before The Scarlet Letter which makes it more likely that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter during the 19th century since The Custom House helped with his inspiration for The Scarlet Letter.
What do you think is the authors intention? The author’s intention in my opinion is to show how if someone commits a crime they will always be remembered, even after death so they should not commit any crimes or else they will suffer through eternity. Also another theme would be guilt and punishment because Hester Prynne has to suffer throughout her life wearing The Scarlet A on her chest which shows she committed adultery, but she only did so because The Governor of Boston forced The A on her chest for adultery.
Also The Scarlet Letter shows that a child is a result of love, not lust or The Devil’s temptation which makes The Governor of Boston resent The Puritans and Hester Prynne even more. Are there any other texts where the characters have been interpreted in a different way? How do these texts challenge your interpretation? In The Custom House Nathaniel Hawthorne brings up many characters from The Scarlet Letter but he only describes them briefly except one which is Roger Chillingworth who was once known as Dr. Arthur Dimmesdale who took care of Arthur when he was still alive but eventually died from his illness.
This challenges my interpretation because I thought Nathaniel Hawthorne made The Governor of Boston resent The Puritans and Hester Prynne but Nathaniel Hawthorne shows The Governor of Boston resents The Plague, The Puritans and The Scarlet Letter. Do you think the author has an opinion about human nature? Give evidence to support your thesis.
I think Nathaniel Hawthorne thinks people have good inside them if they are able to love someone with all their heart then that is a great virtue in society which is why he wrote The Scarlet Letter because Hester Prynne was doing something wrong by having an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale but she thought she was doing it for the right reason so Nathaniel Hawthorne wanted to show readers that committing a crime does not always have a good outcome.