A Passionate Heart In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

702 words - 3 pages

The Scarlet Letter - A Passionate Heart

 
    One of the many literary talents of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the Scarlet Letter is his ability to make a clear contrast between Hester Prynne and the Puritan=s doctrines.  As a strict religious community, the Puritans condemned her for her shameful sin of adultery.  The words Hawthorne uses to describe Hester and the letter show that her attitude toward the scarlet letter contradicted what the Puritans intended as a merciful punishment.  The scarlet letter clearly emphasizes the burning passion Hester holds within her heart.

 

Hawthorne=s description of Hester=s attitude expresses her passion through pride, vanity, and confidence. When Hester steps out of the prison, her face has a Aburning blush, and yet a haughty smile and a glance that would not be abashed@(Hawthorne 52.)  This sentence exemplifies her superiority through her beauty and her expression of shamelessness.  Hawthorne dwells on Hester further by showing what beautiful artwork she has through his description of the scarlet letter.  The letter is sewn Ain fine red cloth, with elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of golden-thread@(Hawthorne 52.)  The golden-thread she uses embodies her pride and confidence because gold is the most luxurious and most valuable of metals.  While the Puritans try to shame her into a low position of society, she elevates herself by using the golden-thread as a symbol of high class.  The letter also appears to be really fancy and elegant in design suggesting royalty.  Her treasured letter expresses her strong passion as glowing with the glare of fire: Athe scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passageway@(Hawthorne 69.) Hawthorne continues to describe the letter in a sensuous and sumptuous manner: AIt was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy@ (Hawthorne 52.) Hawthorne=s use of the word Afertility@ connects Hester directly with the letter.  Both Hester and the letter are filled with...

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