Themes And Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Superior Essays
Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most respected and recognized early American authors. His written stories are filled with both exciting events and disheartening scenarios. The unwritten story of his life, however, is just as interesting as his novels and short stories. Hawthorne was born on July fourth, eighteen hundred and four in Salem, Massachusetts. His birth name was actually Nathaniel Hathorne; he would later add the “w” to his name to distance himself from his ancestor, John Hathorne. Hathorne had been the only judge involved in the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts in sixteen ninety two.
Hawthorne’s father was a member of the East India Marine Society, but unfortunately would succumb to yellow-fever in eighteen hundred and eight,
…show more content…
His work had been criticized by his peers of the time, including Edgar Allan Poe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, though often, neither were positive about his work. During Hawthorne’s time, his work was held in high regard as being morally pure. Today, the study of his work, focuses on the psychological complexities, and symbolism he is known for weaving into his novels. Hawthorne released three popular romance novels, including The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, but one of Hawthorne’s most recognized and noted works is his The Scarlet Letter. This masterpiece of literary work was released in eighteen hundred and fifty, and is arguably Nathaniel Hawthorne’s best …show more content…
Dimmesdale being a minister is seen as pure, but as time goes on it is revealed that he too is prone to sin. His secret sin is that he is Pearl’s father. He feels so guilty about his sin of adultery, that it begins to manifest in his body, mind, and soul and presumably leads to his death. Chillingworth, on the other hand, is filled with anger and determination to find out who is the father of Pearl. He proves time and time again that there is no length he would not go to find out, even if it was at the cost of his very soul. This self-destructive behavior is another trademark of dark romanticism.
Although today dark romanticism is an already established writing style, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s time it had not been completely established. This is why his works are so important to the romanticism movement. His use of the puritan lifestyle, not only help people today understand how different things were in early America, but they also gave his stories a kernel of truth to cling to. Puritans, as well as sin, are a common theme in Hawthorne’s

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    With his mind and pen as his tools, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter to challenge the strict Puritan rule over their society. Although he wrote with an underlying defiant tone in some of his writings, Nathaniel Hawthorne in his most famous book about the Puritans puts a large amount of respect for the Puritan way of life. An excerpt of Preston Harper’s writings on Nathaniel Hawthorne expertly says, “Not only was the Calvinistic darkness of the Puritans the source of power in his writings, but also their concept of community pushed him to an understanding of the relationship between sin, alienation, and love,” (Harper, 52). Nathaniel Hawthorne struggled with religion throughout his life, evidenced in his most famed novel. Not only did Hawthorne embody many characteristics of the American Romantic Period, which are individualism, natural solace, and the fulfillment of desire, he also represented the English Victorian Period characteristics of reason and responsibility (Strickland, American Romantic Overview).…

    • 787 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The great-great-grandson of an influential magistrate in the Salem witch trials, Nathaniel Hawthorne was a prominent writer in the nineteenth century who experimented with his own unique writing style to write dozens of short stories for the American audience. “Young Goodman Brown” is one of his most famous stories, in part because of its context; the Salem witch trials are a big part of American history as it was a turning point in the perspective of the Puritan faith. The story is enhanced because of Hawthorne’s genuine interest in the intricacies of faith and sin. Goodman Brown, the main character of the story, is a faithful Christian man coming from a long line of Puritan ancestors. Through Brown, Hawthorne is able to experiment with evils…

    • 1268 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Edgar Allan Poe’s impact on American Society: the Tomahawk Man The world renowned Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 in Boston. Edgar Allan Poe captures his imagination and interests of the readers through his short stories and poems. Edgar Allan Poe became a literary sensation in 1845 with the publication of his poem The Raven. (Poe, 1845). The Raven is considered a great American literary work and one of the best pieces of Poe’s career.…

    • 1629 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In comparison, both men have secrets. Being a Reverend, Dimmesdale’s secret seems to be worse just because he is a Reverend. This secret could destroy his reputation because after he committed adultery he comes to find out that Hester is pregnant with his child. Arthur Dimmesdale has a terrible secret and is frightened to tell anyone since the town holds him in “such high regard” (). After this dilemma he was seen as a “withdrawn” man…

    • 1048 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Poe storylines included death and the beauty he associated with it after many years of suffering. Though not made apparent to Jay Gatsby, his suffering with the loss of Daisy’s love made him become better, which emphasizes the darker meaning that is hidden within the text. Multiple people have idolized Fitzgerald for having The Great Gatsby set an example for a way to achieve the desired American Dream. Disguising the underlying truth of the novel with the all-American life, Fitzgerald was able to make the darker themes stand out more, once there is realization they are there. Poe’s common aspects associated with his writings such death, love, falsehood, and obsession, when compared to the same topics in The Great Gatsby, reveals how much Dark Romanticism Fitzgerald incorporated into the text.…

    • 2648 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    But Hester’s husband did arrive in puritan Boston right as Hester and Dimmsdale least expected it, setting in motion the conflict of the novel. The Scarlet Letter is often studied for its historical view of puritan values and its reflection thereupon, and is considered a successful and even widely influential piece, but there are many unappreciative readers, often students, who read the book and thought, “Meh.” The book is an interesting one for its historical background, but beyond that, it is not any literary marvel. The symbolism was heavy-handed throughout the novel, from the appearances of the red letter A to the allusions to Satan and death- one of the characters even explains the symbolism of a flower growing in the heart of a dead man to another character. The plot of the novel had its tense moments that kept the reader wondering, but these moments were often wrought with moments of sobriety that clashed with any wonder and fantasy the novel had to offer, Each event in the novel was made just as uninteresting as the last, and each chapter leaves the reader begging for more-- begging for anything at all. Chillingsworth was the only character who made the…

    • 1017 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sartre famously mirrors Hamlet’s “To be or not to be?” speech; the main reason is that Being and Nothingness addresses, primarily, the idea of Being as well as the idea of the concept of Being. Nausea may have hooked readers for its psychological aspect, but nevertheless it is a work of fiction; however, Being and Nothingness is where Sartre directly addresses readers, and states his own idea of the Existentialist philosophy. Perhaps it was still relatable, as readers found parts that could mirror how they felt; even if they felt that way many years prior to reading it. Sartre confronts the reality of Life and Death, and the meaning of Mankind’s concept of Being. He remarks his life as a sequence of unavoidable burdens, one that is leaves him “without remorse or regrets as I am without excuse; for from the instant of my upsurge into being, I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.” (Being and Nothingness, Sartre.)…

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Chaim Potok Essay

    • 1263 Words
    • 6 Pages

    This exposure also allowed him to view writing that created other worlds and to understand that was what he wanted to do with his life. The other author that influenced young Potok was James Joyce and “Joyce’s book appealed to Potok for its portrayal of the iconoclast, the person willing to go against social norms, and how this rebellious person sees the hypocrisy of those around him,” (EXPLORING). The storyline of a iconoclast, strongly influenced Potok’s writing and the stories he created. Since his life could almost relate to a iconoclastic lifestyle, it allowed him to create similar stories. Without his influences Potok would have made completely different stories, and would have been a completely different…

    • 1263 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Theme Of Romanticism In The Scarlet Letter

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 5 Works Cited

    The themes of Nathanial Hawthorne’s writing reflected American Romanticism because in his novel The Scarlet Letter, he showed the good and evil in people, and sin and morality. I found this researching topic to be interesting because I learned about the author who wrote one of the most famous novels of all time, The Scarlet…

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 5 Works Cited
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Tell Tale Identity Essay

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Throughout the novel the narrator is constantly reminding us that they are not insane however due to the nature of Poe’s writing and authorship we can straight away tell that this is not the case “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me.” Self-narration allows Poe to give us an insight into the narrators mind and see how the “disease had sharpened my senses”. Due to the way these narrative parts are written they begin to create an assumption within us as readers that yes the narrator is mad and this is only further validated at the end of the story. But we realise that when the narrator appeals to us as observers they are not only trying to convince us the readers of their sanity but also themselves as they are…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics