Scarlet Letter. Christian Based Term Paper. Excellent Coverage Of Many Different Topics. Includes Quotes.

3362 words - 13 pages

The Scarlet Letter is a classic American novel of sin and punishment. It was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1840 and was his first great work. Hawthorne was one of the three primary transcendental pessimists. He disagreed with transcendental optimists on theological reasons. His works often defend and attack the beliefs of the Puritans. In The Scarlet Letter, he presents the chronicle of a woman in a Puritan town who is branded and punished for her sin. Hawthorne uses this book to state that with sin comes consequences and guilt, but the guilt can be erased with repentance without pride.The book begins as the narrator, presumably Hawthorne, makes a discovery. This discovery occurs at the Custom House while the narrator is working there. The Custom House was a place where the taxes were collected and records were kept. While looking through these records a crimson piece of cloth with a golden "A" embroidered on it is found along with a fool's cap and manuscripts relating the events that had taken place in this town.The Custom House is a necessary part of this book. It provides a great introduction to the story. It gives the reader a small amount of background of the town of Salem and of the Puritans. This also allows Hawthorne to present his real views on everything through the eyes of an impartial person. It also adds a little bit of ambiguity, one of Hawthorne's main writing characteristics, to the story.Ambiguity is a double or inconclusive meaning in the story. It is a powerful literary device and is useful to Romanticists. It allows the readers to achieve their own conclusions in a story, stressing the individual. In the "Custom House," ambiguity is useful to the story because one does not know if the narrator is Hawthorne himself or a complete work of fiction. He could also be a combination of the two. Hawthorne worked in this Custom House before he began writing, but he does not state that he is the narrator. There are a few discrepancies and holes that add just a hint of doubt into the readers' mind as they begin the story.The entire book revolves around a scaffold in the center of the town. A woman named Hester Pryne is standing upon this scaffold, being humiliated. She is clenching a baby in her arms and has a red "A" pinned to her chest.She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself that the infant and the shame were real. (p 66)She was destined to be shunned from society as long as she wore that letter. The punishment that she received was too harsh for the crime, although she did deserve some punishment. Instead of being cast out of society, they should have embraced her and helped her in her difficult times.At the scaffold, the entire population is gathered around her and the young minister of the town, Reverend Dimmesdale, is giving a sermon about the events. Hester had an affair while her husband...

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