Scarlet Letter Essay Prompts

As noted in the biography section, Hawthorne changed his name in his early 20s, adding a W to the original Hathorne.

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The care with which the narrator measured the letter communicates that the reader should trust what the narrator relates.

Of course, that narrator is in fact spinning a story but like many a storyteller, he wants to be seen as reliable.

Perhaps the real achievement of this essay is that the narrator authenticates his voice by establishing a tone, a mood, built from deep feelings that invite our trust in the deeply emotional aspects of .

It is one thing for a writer to establish a believable setting for a work and an engaging voice.

A letter embroidered on a rag might not be very intriguing, but one that had such an impact on the narrator excites curiosity.

Second, the description invites the reader to identify with the narrator by calling to mind occasions when he or she might have felt a physical response to a deeply affecting event.By describing it in so much detail, including the age of the cloth, its color, and its exact dimensions of "three inches and a quarter," the narrator tries to lend verisimilitude to the story.The details capture the reader's imagination and compels him or her to read the story to understand its history.However, the reader has to bear in mind that the narrator uses this essay to introduce a fiction—the story of the discovery of the scarlet letter and the manuscript—and that the first-person point of view always calls into question the truth of what is being said.Since the narration comes from a specific point of view, it is by definition limited and biased. Critics are divided over Hawthorne’s attitude to Hester’s affair, and whether the novel ultimately condemns or condones her actions. What points do you think Hawthorne is trying to make about organised religion? The novel contains hints, early on, that Hester is descended from an impoverished but formerly noble family in England: "She saw again her native village, in Old England, and her paternal home: a decayed house of gray stone, with a poverty-stricken aspect, but retaining a half obliterated shield of arms over the portal, in token of antique gentility." There is a suggestion, toward the end, that Pearl may have returned to these roots by marrying into a wealthy European family, possibly nobility. Critics have sometimes disagreed about whether Hawthorne condones or condemns the adultery of Hester and Dimmesdale in the novel. Describe your response to this scene, and to the disputed event that occurs near its end.( 1. How does Hawthorne depict the Puritan community and their leaders? The priest in the story, Dimmesdale, is a figure of hypocrisy who preaches virtue from the pulpit and refuses to take his daughter’s hand in public—but pays a terrible personal price for his actions.That acceptance both parallels Hester's acceptance of her punishment and lends credibility to his satirical criticisms of his coworkers—after all, if he has accepted the firing, his criticisms must not arise from any ill-feeling but must be accurate.introduce some of the themes and motifs to follow in the novel itself?Third, this action foreshadows the mystery at the heart of the novel: whether or not Arthur Dimmesdale has a scarlet , how and why does Hawthorne rationalize the loss of his position at the Custom-House?Hawthorne provides three rationalizations for the loss of his job at the Custom House.


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