Rhetorical Analysis Of ' Scarlet Letter ' And ' Huckleberry Finn '

1041 Words Dec 8th, 2015 5 Pages
Ripping Letters: “Illuminating Incidents” in Scarlet Letter and Huckleberry Finn
In the novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Scarlet Letter by Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne, respectively, each of the protagonists attempt to surmount the conditions and beliefs imposed upon them by unsympathetic societies. In the romance Scarlet Letter, set in mid-seventeenth century Puritan Boston and told by an omniscient narrator, Hester Prynne, as a single, mother in Puritan Boston, attempts to transcend the punishment of the eponymous scarlet letter, which she must wear for her adultery. Meanwhile, in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, set in the antebellum South along the Mississippi River and realistically narrated in the first person by protagonist Huck Finn, Huck battles his “deformed conscience,” formed as a result of his racist Southern upbringing, with his “sound heart” (O’Keefe. 29 Sept. 2015). In addition, both works employ symbolism: in the Scarlet Letter, the scarlet letter represents sin, while in Huck Finn, the Mississippi River and the raft represent removal from society. Hawthorne wishes to expose the materialism of his mid-nineteenth century society; Twain wants to criticize the racism of his antebellum Southern society. Although Hester and Huck seem to face distinct challenges, both characters undergo an “illuminating incident” (Wharton), which “[reveals] and [emphasizes] the inner meaning of each situation” (Wharton). Hester’s “illuminating incident” (Wharton)…

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