A literary analysis of human frailty in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping. Indecency is a creation, not of God or of nature, but of the indecent. Let the black flower blossom as it may! But this method would baffle Chillingworth's revenge just where he designed it to be most effective; for, by leaving the sinner with no load of secret guilt in his heart, it is inadvertently merciful in its very unmercifulness.

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why is the scarlet letter important to american literature

Likewise, his works all display similar elements such as the portrayal of a dark and dismal human nature, setting operating as a character, as well as similarities in characters. The perfectibility of man being infinite, the best man and the worst man alike must fall infinitely short of perfection: but every one can account honestly for such talents as he has; and it is always the motive, never the achievement, the sincerity, not the sound, that Divine Justice regards.

The devil is always anxious to be enlisted against himself, but his reasons are tolerably transparent.

the scarlet letter summary chapter 2

At night and always with the physician, the letter is associated with darkness and evil; in the other associations, it is a part of nature, passion, lawlessness, and imagination.

She is natural law unleashed, the freedom of the unrestrained wilderness, the result of repressed passion. As the story progresses, Dimmesdale begins to grow paler and weaker, and constantly clutches his heart.

scarlet letter summary chapter 3

The individuals are there, and could at need be particularlized sharply enough; but that part of them which we are concerned with lies so far beneath the surface as inevitably to exhibit more of general than of personal characteristics. The ill-assorted pair make their first home in Amsterdam; but at length, tidings of the Puritan colony in Massachusetts reaching them, they prepare to emigrate thither.

In a word, society, as at present administered, presents the unhandsome spectacle of a majority of successful hypocrites, on one side, contending against a minority of discovered criminals, on the other; and we are reduced to this paradox, — that the salvation of humanity depends primarily on the victory of the criminals over the hypocrites.

Scholarly articles on the scarlet letter

For the controlling purpose of the story, underlying all other purposes, is to exhibit the various ways in which guilt is punished in this world, — whether by society, by the guilty persons themselves, or by interested individuals who take the law into their own hands. Nor are hints wanting that this phase of the theme had been canvassed in Hawthorne's mind. His first paragraph introduces the reader to what some might want to consider a or the major character of the work: the Puritan society. Indecency is a creation, not of God or of nature, but of the indecent. Pearl is the strongest of these allegorical images because she is nearly all symbol, little reality. So when little Pearl would frankly unfold the banner of the scarlet letter, and openly fight beneath it, we feel that God will give her victory, not over her apparent enemies, but over herself. It is the unpardonable sin, not because God is wanting in mercy towards it, but because its very nature is to cause its perpetrator to withdraw himself from all mercy. It is our fate. So strongly is the scarlet letter rooted in every chapter and almost every sentence of the book that bears its name. Consequently, a similarity can be drawn here between the two upstanding pastors who both had their lives ruined by a woman who they held dearly to their heart. In either of these or a dozen other possible alternatives, the progress of her growth would have had a new and important interest, conducting to fresh regions of speculation.

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Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter