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Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay Examples

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Obsession of Perfection

The relentless pursuit of human perfection has always been an intrinsic trait of human nature and science has been a mean to achieve it. This statement brings us to the main idea of Hawthorne's short story "The Birth-mark." It shows the story of a scientist who is obsessed with the removal of his wife's birthmark, considering it a symbol of her human imperfection. "The Birth-mark" is possibly influenced by Hawthorne's times where science began to gain knowledge about our world…...

Dramatization of Isolation in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s `the Scarlet Letter’

Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter highlights the theme of seclusion throughout the whole book. Utilizing a variety of literary methods and descriptions of emotions and nature, Hawthorne has the ability to fully depict the inner feelings of hurt suffered by the central characters as an outcome of serious solitude and privacy. The excruciating of isolation, are experienced by the essential figures, Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, each due to various scenarios and to different degrees. These characters…...

Rhetorical Analysis on the Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne effectively depicts the usage of prolonged metaphors, foreshadowing and language throughout the Scarlet Letter to easily get hold or comprehend the reader's mindful minds. To start with the usage of the extended metaphors-the lengthening of the average metaphor was developed in this passage to completely describe Pearls response to Reverend Dimmesdale's approach. "The kid, with bird-like movement which was one of her attributes, flew to him, and gripped her arms about his knees," is an amazing example of the…...

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The Scarlet Letter Journal Entries

Journal 1: In the introduction, we learn about the nameless narrator who is the chief executive officer of the Salem Custom House. Since there are barely any ships that comes to Salem, the narrator spends his time trying to amuse himself. One rainy day he stumbles upon a pile of documents and finds a manuscript with a gold cloth in the shape of a letter A. It is a work written by Jonathan Pue, who had an interest in local…...

Hollow of the Three Hills by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Themes of the Hollow of the three Hills: Main character as a beautiful woman with a shameful and abominable past. -trying to run from it will only make the problem follow. Character as someone who is a plighted subject who had such a secret that she had to be where "no mortal could observe them. -She wanted this witch to help her see and hear what was happening with her loved ones; but she only had one hour to do…...

Quotes from The Scarlet Letter

 "But she named the infant 'Pearl,' as being of great price- purchased with all she had- her mother's only pleasure." Ah, but let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter II "The Market-Place" "the scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun's bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril.”…...

The scarlet letter

The Puritan Society is an important part of American history, it outlines America’s brief moment of theocracy and extreme social order. The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, depicts Boston, Massachusetts during the time of puritanism and follows a young woman, Hester Prynne, through her trials and tribulations under her sin. The Scarlet Letter is repetitive of its time period through Dimmesdale’s state of religious anxiety and self-punishment, the glorification of punishment by puritans, and puritan fear of witchcraft and…...

A Dual-Criticism Look at "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Literature is many things: provoking, heartwarming, emotional, traumatic, poetic, maybe even life-changing. Literature can also be incredibly ambiguous. While literature can be “simply read”, when one takes a step back and looks at a piece through specific lenses, the work can take on an incredibly different, deeper meaning. Taking the lead of criticisms such as formalist, psychoanalytical, biological, feminist, Marxist, etc., one can dig deeper into a text and discover new meanings and morals from it. Not only can this…...

Importance of Tolerance

In the society that I have been raised in, I have always been taught to be accepting of others and not pass judgment on their race, culture or religion. I was told to leave my prejudice at home. In other societies, has this been the case as well? Through the close analysis and reading of four texts, I believe that this wasn’t the case and that intolerance and prejudicial attitudes were common. The four texts that I have chosen that…...

Protofeminism in The Scarlet Letter

In the eyes of some, The Scarlet Letter may seem like a protofeminist novel. In the eyes of some, had Hester been a man, her punishment would not have been nearly as embarrassing and deceitful. In the eyes of some, Hester did nothing but the right thing based on her trying to protect other women from gender-based prosecution, though it meant completely disregarding Puritan laws in her society. Then again, in the eyes of some, Hester deserved all of the…...

Religion & Historical Background of Young Goodman Brown

There are times when religion and innocence are questioned. Some people may argue that heritage can be a deciding factor in how religion can play a major role in how we view one another. The story Young Goodman Brown was the outcome of Hawthorne’s experience through his young adulthood, which was heavily impacted by the historical background of his family. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, to a family of Puritan colonists. Hawthorne’s paternal distant grandfather, John…...

“The Scarlet Letter” Chapters 1-3 Review

1. As the story opens a throng is gathered. Who are these people? Where and why are they gathered? Men with beards in sad-colored garments and crowned hats, there are also a few women. They are citizens and they are gathered outside, around the marketplace, to view Hester Prynne on a platform, with her scarlet letter. 2. The description in Chapter One of the people’s dress, the prison, and the surrounding vegetation serves to establish certain important impressions of Puritan…...

19th Century American Literature

The nineteenth century gave readers a myriad of literary genius. Maybe the most acknowledged literary movement was Transcendentalism. This literary principle was based on a group of originalities in faith, culture, and approach. Transcendentalism led the way for lots of subgenres, it's most significantly opposite; however was the introduction of Dark Romanticism. The Romantics tended to worth emotion and instinct over reason and reasoning. A number of the authors of the nineteenth century placed themselves into one or the other…...

Science vs. Nature

Throughout history, many people have often become wary of the steps science has taken, perhaps believing that man has taken on the power of God to control life and death, even to control nature itself. More recently, cloning and genetic selection have been seen as man trying to “play God” by creating or altering life. The short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the tale of a man obsessed with science and power. His idea of perfection through science…...

John Proctor vs. Arthur Dimmesdale

The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible both have main characters that can relate to each other even though they are in two different stories. Arthur Dimmesdale, one of the main characters of The Scarlet Letter, is a respected reverend in society that commits a horrendous and sinful act, adultery, with a woman named Hester Prynne. John Proctor, a main character from The Crucible, commits adultery as well with his servant, Abigail Williams. These two characters, aside from the others that…...

Rhetorical analysis of "The Scarlet letter"

Pearls have always held a great price to mankind, but no pearl has ever been earned at as high a cost to a person as Nathaniel Hawthorne's powerful heroine Hester Prynne. Her daughter Pearl, born into a Puritan prison in more ways than one, is an enigmatic character serving entirely as a vehicle for symbolism. From her introduction as an infant on her mother's scaffold of shame, Pearl is an empathetic and intelligent child. Throughout the story she absorbs the…...

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark"

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark is a story wrought with potent symbolism and destructive irony. It is the story of a cerebral scientist's imprudent and superficial endeavor, and the all too trusting wife that had faith in him. This short story provides us with a moral allegory and theme that is universally vital through symbolism. The crimson hand-shaped mark bestowed upon the otherwise perfect face of a beautiful woman contains much meaning. Through his use of symbolism, Hawthorne addresses the issues…...

Sin in the Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne

After analyzing several of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, it becomes apparent to the reader that he often wrote using the recurring theme of sin. Though sin is present in all of his works, there is much variation on the ways in which his characters come to understand the inherent evil that lurks inside every human being. Whether expressed in the form of selfishness, passion, or obsession, the sin is somehow masked and concealed from others, and prevents humans from achieving…...

Hawthorne's use of the narrator in Young Goodman Brown

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the story is told through the eyes of a limited omniscient third-person narrator. This style is very accommodating to the story because it allows the author perfect opportunities to express his points. The narrator can both describe what Goodman Brown is doing, and also evaluate and comment on the characters actions. This is a tool of the author to use the narrator to express his own personal beliefs on mankind. The narrator possesses the…...

Scarlet Letter's Among Society Today

There are many types of "scarlet letter's" in modern day life that apply to all in any given society. A type of "scarlet letter" in today's society is none other than appearance and self-presentation. Another "scarlet letter" that all people are subjected to, especially earlier in life, is popularity and recognition. One more "scarlet letter" example in modern day society is money. Appearance and presentation has involved itself in society too much. If certain people in society don't like an…...

No one person is perfect

No one person is perfect. Mistakes, just like water, are an essential part of life. It's not for our faults that we should be judged; rather it's the way we learn to accept our human nature and change for the better. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Puritanical novel, The Scarlet Letter, the main character, Hester Prynne, commits an offense of infidelity against her husband, Roger Chillingworth. From then on her secret affair with the Puritan minister will always be on her mind…...

The Scarlet letter characters

Of all the characters in The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is the strongest and most courageous. But, that is not to say that she is unsusceptible to change. Over the course of the novel, Hester remains unchanged in some areas, such as strength and honesty, but her beauty and social status vary greatly. One trait that defines Hester throughout the novel is strength. Strength in the mind and also in the heart is what makes Hester a striking…...

The Scarlet Letter: A Psychological Analysis

"I experienced a sensation...of burning heat; and as if the letter sere not of red cloth, but red-hot iron." These words in the introduction to The Scarlet Letter describe the letter as an object that contains power. The power left in the little red piece of cloth represents all the emotional toil that was associated with it - guilt, pain, betrayal, and vengeance. Throughout the novel the letter will stir all these emotions, creating an intense psychological drama. Nathaniel Hawthorne…...

Individual vs. the Society in "The Scarlet Letter"

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme of the individual versus society is prevalent. One of the most intriguing characters in the novel is Hester Prynne, who is ostracized by the society around her. Hawthorne uses symbols to accentuate how Hester chooses to accept her branded punishment as a moral obligation rather than a mark of shame. Her individualism is achieved through a clear conscience and accepting the fact that she is unique, distanced from the Puritans surrounding…...

Chiaroscuro in The Scarlet Letter and "The Fall of the House of Usher"

Mother, said little Pearl, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne has committed the sin of adultery and wears a scarlet A on her chest to condemn her. Hawthorne develops the personalities of Hester Prynne, Pearl, and Arthur Dimmesdale by using the function of light and dark images in his writing. In Edgar Allan Poes The Fall of…...

Romanticism in "The Scarlet Letter"

A Scarlet RomanceIt is the year 1644, Boston Massachusetts, and the stage is set for one of the most famous romance novels of our time. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne set a genre standard for American Romanticism, with an intrinsic love of nature, sense of freedom of imagination and emotion, and the low regard Hawthorne holds for organized religion and all that it entails. In his novel, Hawthorne builds on the standards of romanticism, as the trend away from…...

Moral Law Vs Natural Law In The Scarlet Letter

Moral Law Vs. Natural Law "At the dramatic center of The Scarlet Letter is the idea of the awesomeness and inescapability of the Moral Law, to which all else is finally submitted," (Levy 384). Assuming that Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter exploring the relationship between Moral law and Natural law, he chooses the moral laws to be absolute. Using definitions of nature and character provided by Seymour Katz applied to the terms natural law and moral law allow an extension…...

The Heroism Of Hester Prynne

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter focuses on seven years in the lives of four people living in a puritan community in seventeenth century Boston. Hester Prynne, the wife of Roger Chillingworth, falls in love with the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and the two have a child, Pearl. The novel explores the effects of adultery on these four characters. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "It is the surmounting of difficulties that makes heroes." A hero has the qualities of loyalty and bravery,…...

Witchcraft In The Scarlet Letter

Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne continually uses witchcraft and the devil as a theme. Hester Prynne, the main character, emerges from a prison in the first few pages of the book. So from the very beginning, it is known that she has committed a great sin of some kind. Many other characters other than Hester also have a connection with the dark side. It is this association with the devil that eventually brings about the demise of one of…...

"The Scarlet Letter" - Thesis

One main theme present in the work "The Scarlet Lette" is that of sin and guilt. Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to show how guilt can be a form of everlasting punishment. The book represents sin and guilt through symbolism and character development. In his novel, "The Scarlet Letter", Nathaniel Hawthorne explains how the punishment of guilt causes the most suffering among those affected. As with any piece, symbolism plays an important role in representing the main ideas of a novel. The…...

Mirror Imagery in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

According to research in the field of psychology, guilt manifests itself in many ways. Often those who feel guilty see assurances for their feeling in the action of others—even when the public has no interest in his or her private life. In a conservative society, however, rules are imposed upon him or her, barring the person from moving ahead with their life, no matter how insignificant the crime. Michael L. Lasser takes a similar approach, arguing that Pearl is a…...

Theme of Individual Versus Society

Reverent Dimmesdale's journey through the story shows how his insecurities effect his decisions. Dimmesdale often let his thoughts of rejection from his life as a loved godly man take away from what he needed to do. He shows, by these actions, a want to be accepted that is so strong that it can overpower his churchly values. Dimmesdale's inner-conflict with his conscience demonstrates how his need to fit in with society overpowers his value to have a pure repented heart.…...

Guilt and Innocence in ''The Scarlet Letter''

Knowledge and sin connect in the Judeo-Christian tradition in the story of Adam and Eve. Sin becomes the outcome in the story of Adam and Eve when they get thrown out of the Garden of Eden. After their banishment from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve must work and bear children. Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale experience similar situations as Adam and Eve in the novel _The Scarlet Letter_ written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. For Hester, the scarlet letter becomes…...

Good and Evil in Scarlet Letter

"Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other" (Burdon). The novel _The Scarlet Letter_ perfectly illustrates this point using complex and intricate characters that mirror reality with both positive and negative aspects of their personas. The story begins in mid-17th century New England with Hester Prynne being publicly humiliated for having a child out of wedlock. She is…...

On the Symbolism of The Scarlet Letter

Introduction: Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great romantic novelist in America in the 19th century. His novel, The Scarlet Letter, is considered as the first American psychological novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It reveals the psychological insight with which Hawthorne proved guilt and anxiety in the human soul. The Scarlet Letter is deeply concerned with ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. The background of the story is set in Salem, Massachusetts, a strictly controlled Puritan town with harsh laws and…...

The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby

Although set in vastly different cultures at different eras within American history, a common theme can be established when comparing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both novels, for example, examine the dichotomy between reality and appearance as well as the conflict between individual and social values. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale love each other. This love holds great personal value for them. However, because their relationship is…...

Analysis of Walter J. Paulits’ Essay on Young Goodman Brown

Walter J. Paulits’ 1970 essay on Young Goodman Brown is an attempt on his part to discuss both ambivalence and temptation within the context of Hawthorne’s classic work. Paulits maintains that Hawthorn employs ambiguity to arrive at his theme of moral ambivalence in the work. He considers the theme of Goodman Brown to be ambivalence. The story, published in 1835 and set in Colonial America of the Seventeenth Century, has multiple themes. There is an obvious thread of ambivalence that…...

Nathaniel Hawthorne

For the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne the most explored theme of all his writings is the imperfect spirituality of man and the pervasiveness of sin throughout creation. Both of the stories under analysis here, Young Goodman Brown and The Minister’s Black Veil, feature a young reverend as the central character of the work and a Puritanical community in New England as the setting. Both of the tales are allegories centered on the ambiguity of human spirituality and on the ubiquity…...

Corruptibility in "Young Goodman Brown"

In 'Young Goodman Brown,' Hawthorne reveals what he sees as the corruptibility that results from Puritan society's emphasis on public morality, which often weakens private religious faith. Although Goodman Brown has decided to come into the forest and meet with the devil, he still hides when he sees Goody Cloyse and hears the minister and Deacon Gookin. He seems more concerned with how his faith appears to other people than with the fact that he has decided to meet with…...

Hawthorne Romanticism

The stories “The Maypole of Merry Mount,” “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “The Wedding Knell” by Nathaniel Hawthorne contain themes that deal with the idea of darkness and death coming to overtake life. The elements of Romanticism present in these stories represent the extremes of this movement. Romanticism deals with freedom and spontaneity in happiness and brightness, and it also deals with wildness of nature—especially the dark side, such as storms and dark atmospheres. In his treatment of the characters,…...

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