Literary Elements in The Scarlet Letter

advertisement
Literary Elements in
The Scarlet Letter
Plot 1
 Takes
place over a seven-year
period.
 Involves the familiar triangle of
wife-lover-husband
 Is a struggle between good
and evil, with the eternal souls
of the characters at stake
Plot 2
 Suspense
is built around these
questions:
 Will the identities of the lover
and the husband be revealed?
 How will the identities of the
lover and the husband be
revealed?
Plot 3
 The
main psychological
movement in the novel derives
from the husband’s insatiable
quest for revenge
Setting
 Boston
in the mid-1600s
 Provides a framework of rigid
social mores and religious
beliefs
 a “people amongst whom
religion and law were almost
identical”
Definition of “mores”
 The
accepted traditional
customs and usages of a
particular social group
 Moral attitudes
 Manners or ways
Structure
 Hawthorne’s
form of the novel
was writing innovative for 1850
 Instead of an ongoing
chronicle of events, it is a
series of separate, fully
realized scenes interspersed
with expository chapters
Point of View
 omniscient
 Hawthorne
reveals both the
inner and outer lives of his
characters with asides on
social criticism, history and
psychology
Major Characters
Hester Prynne 1
 Young
Englishwoman
 Has been living alone in
Boston
 Her husband has been missing
for several years
Hester Prynne 2
 Has
given birth to a child
 Refuses to name the father
 She pays for her sin in many
ways, although she never
renounces her love for
Dimmesdale
Arthur Dimmesdale
 A popular and admired young
clergyman
 Refuses to acknowledge that
he is the father of Hester's child
 Undergoes intense internal
suffering and becomes prey to
Chillingworth’s slow revenge
Roger Chillingworth 1
 Hester’s
husband
 A scholar much older than she
 Arrives in Boston after years of
captivity
 Finds that his wife has just
given birth to a daughter
Roger Chillingworth 2
 Is
the major antagonist
 The novel chronicles his
spiritual deterioration
 He takes revenge on
Dimmesdale, whom he
suspects, correctly, of being the
child’s father
Pearl
 the
daughter
 blithe (happy, joyful)
 highly intuitive (capable of knowing
without deduction or reasoning)
 intelligent
 imaginative
Theme 1
 The
effects of sin and the
possibility of redemption

Hawthorne is interested
primarily in the psychological
and social consequences of
sin on his characters and in
their process of redemption
Theme 1: the effects of sin and
the possibility of redemption
 Hester
 The consequence of sin is
isolation from society
 Her redemption is worked out
through a life of patient and
selfless work
Theme 1: the effects of sin and
the possibility of redemption
 Dimmesdale
 Consequence
of his sin is
internal anguish caused by his
guilt and the psychological
torment inflicted by
Chillingworth
 His redemption comes only
with confession
Theme 1: the effects of sin and
the possibility of redemption
 Chillingworth
 His
sin is obsession with revenge
and violating “in cold blood, the
sanctity of a human heart”
 The consequence is a gradual
shriveling of both soul and body
 Redemption escapes him
Theme 1: Secondary Effect
 Insight
into the hearts of
others is a secondary effect of
the sin of all three characters
 As eating the forbidden apple
brought a kind of knowledge to
Eve and Adam
Theme 1: Secondary Effect
Insight into the hearts of others
 Both
Hester and Dimmesdale
use this understanding to
positive ends
 Chillingworth, however, uses his
insight to torment the already
suffering Dimmesdale
Theme 2: Hypocrisy 1
 Hypocrisy
appears in the
conflict between outer
appearance and inner reality
Theme 2: Hypocrisy 2
 Depicted
in the vindictiveness
of the pious women of town
toward Hester
Theme 2: Hypocrisy 3
 Illustrated
in the portrayals of
Chillingworth and Dimmesdale
 Both live hypocritically
 Each poses as something
other than what they are
Major Symbols 1
 The
scarlet letter itself is the
central symbol
 It changes meaning for the
people of Boston as Hester
steadfastly works out her
absolution
 The A also becomes the pathway
to redemption for Dimmesdale
Major Symbols 2
 The
scaffold
 the cruel public exposure of
private sins
 the means to redemption
through confession
Major Symbols 3
 Elements
of nature are used
to symbolize good and evil
 Evil: weeds, unsightly
vegetation, darkness, and
shade
 Good: flowers, sun, and light
 The forest is a changeable
symbol representing both good
and evil
Irony 1
 Situational Irony is central to
the action of the novel
 Situational Irony is the contrast
between the intention or
purpose of an action and its
result
 In situational irony, the
expectations aroused by a
situation are reversed
Situational Irony 1
 The
guilty Dimmesdale is able
to minister brilliantly to his
congregation
Situational Irony 2
 Chillingworth is the wronged
husband
 He might normally claim reader
sympathy
 But he turns out to be a fiend
 A physician who destroys
rather than heals
Download
Related flashcards

Childhood

31 cards

Goddesses

16 cards

Social psychology

27 cards

Healthcare occupations

29 cards

Create Flashcards