APLanguage and CompositionCheyenneMountain High SchoolMr.Will Name:Calum Clark Date 11 December 2017 Period 2 MAJOR WORKS DATA SHEET Title: The Scarlet Letter Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne Date of Publication: 1850 Genre: Romanticism Explain what makes this work an example of this genre. The overarching conflict of the novel is Hester’s belief that you should be married for love, rather than for your family’s needs or wants, or for society’s norms/ Biographical Information about the Author: (Include relevant reasons for writing work) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s father died when he was only 4 years old, and so his mother raised him alone in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended Bowdoin College, and graduated it 1854. His wife was Sophia Peabody, and they had 2 children. After he could no long support his family through writing, he worked at the Custom House in Salem.
Hawthorne died in 1864. Historical Information: Based on the Puritans, the novel criticizes their beliefs and strict society. They are commonly thought of as the founders of America, but Hawthorne puts them in a very negative light. Despite initially settling in the New World in 1620, the Puritans still had a large population into Hawthorne’s time growing up, impacting is view of them in a negative way.
Critics’ Response to Author/Work The initial response to Hawthorne’s Novel was near unanimously negative. As Hester Prynne was seen through the novel as the protagonist, The Scarlet Letter seemed to promote adultery, as the main argument focused on marrying for love, and how Hester was not in the wrong. Plot Summary: (Include elements of plot, most importantly the climax). Hester is humiliated at the beginning of the book, for committing adultery. Having gone to America to wait for her husband, Hester had a child before he arrived. The father of her daughter, Pearl, remains unknown, and she will not disclose who it is, so the blame lies solely on her. The town’s pastor, Arthur Dimmesdale, tries to get Hester to open up, but Hester keeps her secret, and so she is made to wear a scarlet ‘A’ on her chest, for adulterer. Hester’s husband then comes to town and discovers the truth about Pearl, and creates a fake identity to try and find the father.
Hester is the only one who knows his identity, but is sworn to secrecy. Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, after some unsuccessful looking, moves in with Arthur Dimmesdale to help with his sickness, as Chillingworth is a doctor. The two become good friends, and Chillingworth discovers that it was Arthur who was the man responsible, and was Pearl’s actual father. Soon after, Dimmesdale makes a public speech, announcing his confession, with Hester and Pearl watching. She asks him about the confession, but he cannot yet bring himself to explain it to his daughter. At that same time, a meteor streaks down, making an ‘A’ across the sky, similar to Hester’s. She later planned a meeting with Arthur, but he gave a speech confessing his sins before they were to meet, and in revealing a scarlet letter on his chest, died.
Shortly after, Hester and Pearl leave town. They come back towards the end of the novel List 4-6 recurring stylistic/rhetorical devices: Symbolism Alliteration Simile Allusion Metaphor Irony Cite examples of those devices: The rosebush symbolizes Hester’s sin with the thorns, and the ‘beautiful’ result in the flower “fragrance and fragile beauties” (46) “There appeared… like a black shadow emerging into sunshine” (49) “He was heard to speak of Sir Kenelm Digby, and other famous men” (110) “It was a scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life” (93) “Her skill was called in aid to embroider the white veil which was to cover the pure blushes of a bride” (76) 8-10 Memorable Quotes Quotes: “Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him–yea, compel him, as it were–to add hypocrisy to sin?” “She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” “Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.” “Do anything, save to lie down and die!” “It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.
” “All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent.” Explain Significance of Each Quote: 1. Hester is being persuaded to tell the name of the sinner who is Pearl’s father, but Hester stands her ground. The quote shows the emphasized strength she possesses. 2. Hester, who is alluded to in this quote, had not understood the full impact of her decision, and the weight it carried, until she was free of it. 3.
This shows Hawthorne’s main argument through his novel, as the idea of love’s importance becomes prominent. 4. Hester begs Arthur to live, and to make a new name for himself. It shows that she truly did love him, and could not bear him dying. 5.
This quote questions the meaning of emotions, and how love and hate are so closely linked. 6. Everything graceful is soon forgotten, it is the negative that is remembered. CHARACTERS Name Role in Story Significance/Functions as… Adjectives 1. Hester Prynn 2. Pearl 3. Arthur Dimmesdale 4. Roger Chillingworth Protaganist Hester’s Daughter The man Hester committed adultery with/ Hester’s lover Hester’s Husband/ Antagontist 1.
Her struggle of having committed adultery is the main theme, as the novel questions the morality of marrying for duty or for family, rather than for love. She is intelligent, and accepts her mother for who she is. She prefers to be around her true father than Chillingworth Guilty from his crime, and from seeing Hester go through the suffering. He finds the church more important though, and so he will not confess his sin. He is looking for revenge on the man who sinned with Hester, and uses being a doctor to gain trust. Loving, Kind, often bitter Disobedient Intelligent, guilty, eloquent Angry, wants revenge Setting Significance of Opening Scene Cite and Explain 3+ elements of setting 1. Hester’s cottage signifies a safe space through the novel.
Hester feels as though she was not wrong to have Pearl, and that in her home, she is not judged for her acts. 2. Salem was almost uniformly puritan, and Hawthorne criticizes them harshly with his novel. Salem represents an old way of thinking, that discriminates and does not allow for what is important. 3. The church is a place of shame for Hester. As the community believes she has sinned against God, she receives blame and emotional torture for committing adultery. The opening scene shows Hester’s loss of innocence, as she has had a child without her husband, and she realizes the true consequences of her actions.
As she first stands trial for her sins, it is apparent that she is no longer a child. During the trial, Arthur near begs her to reveal her secret lover, whom he is, so that he does not have to confess, but she refuses to give him up. As punishment, she is sentenced to wear a scarlet ‘A’ for ‘adulterer’ on her chest for life.
Significance of Climatic/Pivotal Scene The scene in which Dimmesdale confesses to the town shows his guilty conscience, and how it overcame him. Chillingworth’s torture had driven him (unintentionally) to where he could no longer stand it, thus his confession. Chillingworth is sent into a state of madness from this, as he could not enact his revenge. In this scene, the three, having suffered separately, come together, and, as Arthur dies, Hester cries out “shall we not meet again?” Cite and explain 3+ symbols 1. Pearl stands for the purity of love. Despite Hester’s act being illegal, Pearl stands to show the value that came of it.
2. The scarlet ‘A’ on Hester represents her sins and mistakes, but later it stands for how she overcame them. 3. The scarlet ‘A’ on Arthur Dimmesdale shows that despite never being outed as the sinner, he felt the need to punish himself for his sin. Significance of Closing Scene/Resolution Chillingworth dies by the scaffold, which concludes the scaffold motif present throughout the book, a symbol of confession.
The closing scene focusses on the deaths of Hester and her husband, who are buried together. However, they were buried slightly apart, showing the Puritans’ beliefs that they were wrong in their doings, and that they should not converse in the afterlife. Include and explain 3 specific conflicts within this work. 1. Man vs Self: Arthur Dimmesdale is in a constant inner struggle between his duty to the church and the people, and his secret love for Hester. 2.
Man vs Man: After finding Hester’s lover, Chillingworth mentally tortures Dimmesdale until he is driven near mad. 3. Man vs Society: The entire community stands against Hester and Pearl after Hester is convicted of adultery Express and explain in detail at least two themes within this work. (This is hard! Be original!) 1. One of the main themes in The Scarlet Letter is sin. The sin of Hester and Arthur Dimmesdale is an allusion, in its prime, to the sin of Adam and Eve. Despite being on different conflicts, they both involve being tempted, and, in having sinned, having to live with the shame of said crime for their respective lives. In both, expulsion is the end cause from the sin, and they must overcome it.
Hester and Arthur struggled to overcome their sin, and in confessing, Dimmesdale dies upon the scaffold. 2. Another prominent theme is the idea of evil, and what represents it. Dimmesdale, Hester, Chillingworth, and Pearl are, in a way, symbols of evil, as each has sinned, as Pearl is the product of a sin.
However, as the story progresses, Arthur and Hester appear to be more well-meaning and good people, who followed what they believed was right, whereas Roger Chillingworth was evidently the antagonist. He was so set on revenge, not out of love, but hate, that he embodied the true essence of evil. Write a paragraph analyzing relevance/irrelevance to our lives today.
Despite having been written in the mid-19th century, The Scarlet Letter still is relevant in today’s modern society. With divorce rates being high, the conflict of adultery and ‘cheating’ plays a major role. According to Hawthorne, adultery is not a sin if it is done for love, as Hester did. Because despite being condemned by the Puritans (whom Hawthorne is critiquing), Hester and Dimmesdale are shown to be the protagonists, and this could be applied to todays modern society.