Examples Of Ambiguity In The Scarlet Letter

Great Essays
The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne likes to blur the lines between what is real and what is not, leaving his readers to interpret what they want from his writing. Ambiguity in Hawthorne 's novel is one way he adds a certain level of conciseness that almost every romantic story requires. He gives you the general theme without really giving away the message and that is what makes The Scarlett Letter and many of his other books intriguing to read. In The Scarlett Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses ambiguity along with irony and symbolism to captivate and hold the reader’s attention and create authenticity for the events that happened within Puritan society in the 1600’s . In the prologue Hawthorne uses the past as a tool to create authenticity
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The reasoning for a frame story goes way back but was perfected by Washington Irving who had many stories that contained prefaces and introductions to give legitimacy and information to help the reader along. Hawthorne followed suit and used Custom House chapter in his novel for the same reason. Hawthorne’s use of the custom house was not just about giving his story support by writing an introduction to be considered actual events that happened in the past but also to help Hawthorne be separate from the story. He did not want his own views or his own prejudices to be obvious so he added on his findings of the story of Hester Prynne and her Scarlet A to be able to distance himself from what happened prior to his time. Also no where in the custom house do we really know Hawthorne is the narrator who discovers the scarlet letter. Hawthorne’s life is very similar to what the narrator’s , with both of them working at a custom house, but readers can speculate that their could be some differences between Hawthorne and the narrator’s story (“Nathaniel Hawthorne” 371-372). Hawthorne decides not to even mention the narrators name to keep the readers guessing what actually took place in real life and what he made up specifically within “the custom house” chapter. Hawthorne may have chosen to do this because instead of blatantly putting himself into his writing he would rather distance himself from his own life of hypocrisy, guilt, and alienation. He mentions his ancestors as "bitter persecutors" and he looks back on his past with a kind of shame and is fired, casting him away from the society that he has known ( Hawthorne 454-455). This help give authenticity while

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