The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1159 Words Sep 23rd, 2016 5 Pages
Throughout the 1800s historical novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, ambiguity is significant. Though many critics and readers will firmly conclude that Roger Chillingworth is a villain, Bethany Reid opposes this typical view. In her critical essay, “Narrative of the Captivity and Redemption of Roger Prynne: Rereading The Scarlet Letter” (Fall 2001), she analyzes of the relationship between Roger Prynne and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘traumatic’ familial history that allows for a sympathetic outlook on Roger. The author’s purpose is to illustrate the misperceptions of Roger Prynne’s character and establish his fatherly role in Pearl Prynne’s life. Reid supports her claim by including details about Hawthorne’s father in order to juxtapose the actions of the ship captain and Roger, repeatedly mentioning the Hawthorne’s parental deprivation and ambivalence which creates the foundation for Roger and Pearl’s relationship, and refutes counterarguments with details such as the entailment of Hester’s biased viewpoint throughout all of The Scarlet Letter. Written in a decisive tone, Reid strongly establishes her claims among other literary critics, especially regarding The Scarlet Letter. I feel that Reid’s analysis on Chillingworth’s portrayal in The Scarlet Letter is reasonable and effective, especially when taking into account the biased perspective of Hester. Reid early on establishes a consistent use of concessions and counterarguments in order to stabilize…

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