To Kill A Mockingbird And The Scarlet Letter

In literature, evil often triumphs but never conquers.” This simply means that in works of literature evil can hold the upper hand from the start, but in the end good will always devour the evil. This can be proven true throughout two classic novels, To Kill A Mocking Bird written by Harper Lee, and The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

First, it can clearly be seen that in the novel To Kill A Mocking Bird that characterization helps a great deal in showing how evil may start off, but disappear towards the end.

Characterization is the way in which an author chooses to develop the characters of their novel. Boo Radley, a main character throughout the novel can quickly be described as an outcast for being locked inside of his house as punishment for a crime he committed many years before.

He is seen as an evil person for having such a harsh punishment, but in the end of the novel Boo Radley rescues the children from death, showing that all along he was one of the good guys.

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Flashbacks are also helpfulbecause they show early on that everything finishes out fine. Flashbacks also show that there were hardships to overcome. To Kill A Mocking Bird starts off as a flashback from one of the main characters, Scout’s point of view. She talks about her brother’s arm, and how it got broken in the first place. Certain events had to occur in order for her brother, Jem’s arm to become broken, and immediately from the start it can be seen that there were lots of problems to overcome.

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Again, characterization can be useful in proving a point. In The Scarlet Letter one of the main characters, Roger Chillingworth declares that in the future he will get revenge on the man his former wife Hester had an affair with. His evil thoughts of revenge fade away when it is discovered that the man he sought revenge after was Arthur Dimmesdale, a man he had been caring for whose life he was basically holding in his hands. Chillingworth loses his objective of hatred and although he dies at the end of the novel, he dies without the hatred he had previously.

The theme of this novel can also be considered an important element because it shows the main idea behind this novel. The Scarlet Letter is the story of a woman who has committed adultery. This wrongful doing in the end is forgiven. Although the woman the story is about, Hester never stops wearing her scarlet letter, it can be assumed that she learns to live her life without the letter controlling her every deed, however it is always a reminder of the past.

In the end, it can be said that throughout characterization, flashbacks, and themes it is easily seen how literary techniques improve the standard for our understanding of a novel. Evil is always a role in a novel of any sort, but for the most part the evil is extinguished by the time the last paragraph can be read. It is true, evil often triumphs, but never conquers.

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To Kill A Mockingbird And The Scarlet Letter. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from

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