The Scarlet Letter - Stylistics


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Our group analysis based on Stylistics of the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. We made this presentation for our final exams in Stylistics. Our group is composed of William Amaro, Merilene Bindol, Wendy Hocon, Mark Joseph Halili Nusug and Cecille Susano. In addition, this specific presentation will be printed out to be submitted to our instructor.

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The Scarlet Letter - Stylistics

  1. 1.
  2. 2. The Scarlet Letter<br />By Nathaniel Hawthorne<br />An Analysis<br />
  3. 3. About the Author<br />Nathaniel Hawthorne (born Nathaniel Hathorne)<br />in 1841<br />
  4. 4. Born on July 4, 1804 to Nathaniel Hathorne and Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne in Salem, Massachusetts.<br />Only son of three children.<br />Descendant of Puritan ancestors including John Hathorne, a presiding magistrate in the Salem witch trials.<br />Sixth generation of Salem family.<br />He put ‘w’ in his last name during his early twenties.<br />When he was four, his father, a ship captain, died of yellow fever at sea.<br />His mother became overly protected of him and send him toward isolated pursuits.<br />
  5. 5. Hawthorne lived his childhood overly shy and bookish, which molded him to become a writer.<br />He became lame and bedridden for a year because of an accident that he met while playing ‘bat and ball’, though several physicians could find nothing wrong with him.<br />In 1816, the family moved to a home built for them by Hawthorne’s uncles Richard and Robert Manning in Raymond, Maine near Sebago Lake.<br />In 1819, Hawthorne returned to Salem for school and he complained of homesickness.<br />
  6. 6. In August and September 1820, he distributed to his family seven issues of The Spectator, a homemade newspaper written by hand and included his essays, poems and news.<br />In 1821, he went to Bowdoin College.<br />On his way to the college, at the stop in Portland, he met future US President Franklin Pierce and the two became friends.<br />At the school, he met the future poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.<br />He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825.<br />
  7. 7. His first novel was ‘Fanshawe’, written after he graduated from Bowdoin College, was unsuccessful and he himself described it as amateurish.<br />He wrote several successful short stories though, which include ‘My Kinsman, Major Molineux’, ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’ and ‘Young Goodman Brown’.<br />He flirted with Mary Silsbee and Elizabeth Peabody.<br />In 1839, he entered a career in Boston Custom House as a Surveyor because of insufficient profits in being a writer.<br />
  8. 8. On July 9, 1842, Hawthorne married Elizabeth Peabody’s sister, Sophia.<br />During his plans of marrying Sophia, he wrote The Blithedale Romance.<br />The two moved to The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts.<br />At the Old Manse, Hawthorne wrote the tales collected in Mosses from an Old Manse. <br />One of his neighbors, Ralph Waldo Emerson, invited him into his social circle but Hawthorne begged off because he was shy.<br />
  9. 9. Sophia Amelia Palmer Peabody-Hawthorne<br />
  10. 10. Sophia was reclusive throughout her life. She had frequent migraines and underwent several experimental medical treatments.<br />The couple had three children, Una, Julian and Rose.<br />Julian and Una, circa 1850<br />
  11. 11. In 1846, Hawthorne was appointed “Surveyor for the District of Salem and Beverly and Inspector of the Revenue for the Port of Salem” at The Custom House of Salem where he earned $1,200 per year.<br />The <br />Salem Custom House<br />
  12. 12. During this time, Hawthorne had difficulty in writing.<br />The <br />Collector’s Office<br /><ul><li>His employment was subject to patronage of political system.</li></li></ul><li>In 1848 US Presidential elections, Zachary Taylor, a Whig, won as the 12th President of the United States of America, over the Democratic candidate Lewis Cass.<br />Being a Democrat, Hawthorne lost his job.<br />He wrote a protest letter to the Boston Daily Advertiser, which was supported by the Democrats, making his dismissal a much-talked issue in New England.<br />
  13. 13. In July of the same year, Hawthorne’s mother died. He described this stage of his life as “the darkest hour I ever lived.”<br />In 1850, he returned to writing and published The Scarlet Letter.<br />At the end of March 1850, his family moved to Lenox, Massachusetts.<br />In 1851, his work The House of the Seven Gables was published.<br />He also published a collection of short stories entitled A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys.<br />
  14. 14. In 1852, the Hawthornes returned to Concord, where they bought The Hillside, the previous home of American teacher and philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott, and which they renamed to the Wayside.<br />At the outset of American Civil War, Hawthorne traveled to Washington, D.C., where he met Lincoln and other notable figures.<br />
  15. 15. During his travel to Washington, D.C., Hawthorne suffered from severe pains in his stomach.<br />He insisted on a recuperative trip.<br />While on a tour, Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.<br />His companion, Franklin Pierce, sent a telegram to Elizabeth Peabody about the death and Sophia was too saddened to learn about this.<br />
  16. 16. Nathaniel Hawthorne, circa 1860<br />
  17. 17. Hawthorne’s son, Julian, who was at that time a freshman at Harvard College, learned of his father’s death the next day; coincidentally, it was the same day he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity by being placed blindfolded into a coffin.<br />
  18. 18. Hawthorne’s Grave<br />
  19. 19. Hawthorne’s statue<br />in Salem, Massachusetts<br />
  20. 20. About the Novel<br />
  21. 21. Synopsis<br /> An ardent young woman, her cowardly lover, and her aging, vengeful husband—these are the central characters in this stark drama of the conflict between passion and convention in the harsh, Puritan world of seventeenth-century Boston. Tremendously moving and rich in psychological insight, this tragic novel of shame and redemption reveals Hawthorne’s concern with the New England past and its influence on American attitudes. From his dramatic illumination of the struggles between mind and heart, dogma and self-reliance, he fashioned one of the masterpieces of fiction.<br />
  22. 22. The Characters<br />
  23. 23. Hester Prynne, the protagonist of the novel, is the mother of Pearl. She must wear the scarlet letter A on her body as punishment for her adulterous affair with Arthur Dimmesdale, the town minister. Hester is married to Roger Chillingworth, but while Hester awaited her husband's arrival from Amsterdam, she met Dimmesdale and engaged in the adulterous affair, which led to Pearl's birth. Hester is never quite penitent for her “crime,” if only because she cannot understand how her punishments could be so harsh. When Governor Bellingham orders Pearl to be taken away from her, Hester wonders whether a woman must die for following her heart, prompting Dimmesdale to intercede as a subtle way of taking responsibility for the affair. Hester learns that Chillingworth is seeking to destroy Dimmesdale, and she decides that her marriage was never sanctified in the first place, for her husband has the seething rage of the devil himself. Hester is thus paired with Dimmesdale upon the scaffold for his final moments.<br />Hester Prynne<br />
  24. 24.
  25. 25. Arthur Dimmesdale is a respected minister in Boston and the father of Pearl. While Hester waited for her husband to arrive from Amsterdam, she met Dimmesdale and had an adulterous affair with him, which led to the birth of their daughter. While Hester is publicly shamed for the adultery, Dimmesdale must suffer the ignominy quietly since no one knows of his culpability. The suffering begins to take its physical toll, especially since Hester's husband Chillingworth seeks to destroy Dimmesdale and is a constant reminder of the guilt and shame he harbors from his affair with Hester. At the very end of the novel, Dimmesdale admits to being Pearl's father and reveals that he has a scarlet letter branded into his flesh. He dies upon the scaffold while holding Hester's hand.<br />Arthur Dimmesdale<br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Hester's husband from the Netherlands. Chillingworth arrives in Boston on the day that Hester is publicly shamed and forced to wear the scarlet letter. He vows revenge on the father of Pearl, and he soon moves in with Arthur Dimmesdale, who Chillingworth knows has committed adultery with his wife. His revenge is frustrated at the end of the novel, when Dimmesdale reveals that he is Pearl's father before dying. Chillingworth, having lost the object of his hatred, dies soon thereafter.<br />Roger Chillingworth<br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29. Hester's daughter. Pearl is characterized as a living version of the scarlet letter. She constantly causes her mother and Dimmesdale torment and anguish throughout the novel with her ability to at once state the truth and deny it when it is most necessary. Pearl is described as extremely beautiful but lacking Christian decency. After Arthur Dimmesdale dies, Pearl's wildness eases, and she eventually marries.<br />Pearl<br />
  30. 30.
  31. 31. Governor Bellingham<br />The former governor, who believes Hester should not be allowed to raise Pearl since it would only lead to the child's spiritual demise. He decides to allow Pearl to stay with her mother after Dimmesdale pleads on her behalf.<br />
  32. 32. Mistress Hibbins<br />The sister of Governor Bellingham. She is killed for being a witch after the novel's events. She routinely sneaks into the woods during the night to conduct covert business in the service of "The Black Man."<br />
  33. 33. Rev. Mr. John Wilson<br />The eldest clergyman in Boston and a friend of Arthur Dimmesdale.<br />
  34. 34. Black Man<br />A nickname for the devil. The legend speaks of a Black Man who inhabits the woods and gets people to write their names in his book, using their own blood as ink.<br />
  35. 35. The Excerpt<br />
  36. 36. Chapter 1<br />The Prison Door<br />
  37. 37. A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes.<br />The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among the earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In <br />
  38. 38. accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison house somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial ground, on Isaac Johnson’s lot and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old churchyard of King’s Chapel. Certain it is that, some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age which gave a yet darker<br />
  39. 39. aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the New World. Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had early so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But on one side of the portal, <br />
  40. 40. and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rosebush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him.<br />This rosebush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed it—or whether,<br />
  41. 41. as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison door—we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers, and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.<br />
  42. 42. Analysis<br />
  43. 43. The particular excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter seems to manifest darkness and negativity because of the description of the setting. Merely the fact that the setting was a wooden prison, where the crowd was gathered, gives the odd vibes to the excerpt.<br />It is strange, though, that amidst the negativity and bad vibes throughout the excerpt, Hawthorne inserted ideas pertaining to beauty, <br />Over-all Impression<br />
  44. 44. such as the rosebush.<br />It should be noted that the whole chapter is used by the author mostly to describe the first setting of the narrative, as the author began to unravel it. Thus, it is noticeable how the novel’s point of view shifted in the ending part of the excerpt.<br />And, when Hawthorne narrated in the introductory sketch of the novel, it has been known to us that the storyline of the novel had reality basis, making us believe that the novel happened in reality, that is, the novel is non-fiction.<br />
  45. 45. Articles<br />It is overt that Hawthorne used the article ‘the’ in this excerpt rather than the article ‘a’. The use of article ‘the’ all throughout the chapter suggests that Hawthorne was very definite about everything that he described. It came to us that it was as if he was at the scene and that he had experienced and seen everything.<br />
  46. 46.
  47. 47. However, Hawthorne used the indefinite article ‘a’ on the first sentence of the excerpt. The use of this indefinite article could mean that the even he was referring to was something indefinite, that is, the event did not happen often during those time. It could imply that the grouping of men and women in front of the prison could happen only once, thus, entailing the hint that the event was something remarkable or special.<br />
  48. 48.
  49. 49. Adjectives<br />In this excerpt, nouns are being expounded by the use of a lot of adjectives. Every single noun in the excerpt is provided an adjective or two, giving the readers a vivid idea of how the setting looked like.<br />
  50. 50.
  51. 51. The way Hawthorne described the setting is partly subjective.<br />
  52. 52.
  53. 53. Nevertheless, there are parts where Hawthorne objectively described the setting. With this description, Hawthorne gave clear picture of the prison and the people who were gathered there. In fact, most of the descriptions are objective rather than subjective.<br />
  54. 54.
  55. 55. Verbs<br />Verbs that Hawthorne used in the novel are all in the past tense. The use of verbs in past tense suggests that the events that took place in the novel happened in the past.<br />However, it may also mean that the events are fictitious.<br />
  56. 56.
  57. 57. Pronouns<br />Hawthorne started telling the narrative by describing the appearance of the place as the people or crowd gathered there.<br />Hawthorne continued the story by introducing the officers of the place.<br />In this part, the point of view is in the third person as the author used the pronoun ‘they’ to refer to the officers.<br />
  58. 58.
  59. 59. However, in the latter part of the excerpt, Hawthorne suddenly used the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘us’.<br />
  60. 60.
  61. 61. The use of ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘us’ is constant all throughout the novel. But, Hawthorne’s way of using these pronouns in the first person is varied.<br />For instance, this excerpt is from Chapter 3 of the novel:<br />
  62. 62.
  63. 63. This implies that the author’s purpose in the novel is to narrate the events. It appeals to us that Hawthorne was part of the novel and the readers as well, that is, he didn’t exactly know what goes on inside the mind of some characters and thus, giving his own opinions about this.<br />
  64. 64. Language<br />In Chapter 16: A Forest Walk, there is a deviation observed in the use of the language.<br />It is noticeable how the conversation between Hester and Pearl shifted from Old English to Modern English.<br />
  65. 65.
  66. 66. We noticed that when Hawthorne made the characters talk to each other, the discourse between them were spontaneous.<br />For example, in the same chapter, ‘A Forest Walk’, Hawthorne made Hester and Pearl talk to each other.<br />
  67. 67.
  68. 68. On the other hand, the way Hawthorne interrupted the conversation to place in some of his opinion or description shall be considered deviant to the style that the discourse was spontaneous, which is present all throughout the novel.<br />
  69. 69.
  70. 70. Allusion<br />It can be seen in the excerpt that Hawthorne used several notable people who existed in United States of America’s history.<br />This is called allusion. Allusions are figures of speech that make reference to, or representation of a place, event, literary work, myth or work of art either directly or by implication.<br />
  71. 71. 1803-1853<br />
  72. 72. 1591-1643<br />
  73. 73. The use of real people in such a novel strengthens our idea that the narrative happened in real life.<br />
  74. 74. Symbolism<br />Nathaniel Hawthorne used particular materials in The Scarlet Letter to symbolize other things in the novel.<br />This is evident when he ironically put a grass-plot and rosebush somewhere around the prison, which he described as ‘the black flower of civilized society’.<br />
  75. 75.
  76. 76. Nathaniel Hawthorne used the rosebush to symbolizes Hester Prynne herself, as the description of the rosebush was passionate and ardent, which is very similar to Hester.<br />
  77. 77. The iron clamp and the iron spikes that the Hawthorne associated with the prison door symbolizes Arthur Dimmesdale. This is because no matter how strong and hard the iron spike is, metal is still vulnerable to rust. Just like Dimmesdale’s strength to avoid transgression, as he was a minister, he was still vulnerable to commit sins.<br />