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Essay Questions About Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay Examples

Arthur Dimmesdale’s Guilt and Hypocrisy

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s gripping tale, The Scarlet Letter, a revered Puritan minister suffers from cowardly guilt and hypocrisy after he commits adultery in this novel staged in the seventeenth century. Arthur Dimmesdale, who hides himself in the shame of his lover, Hester Prynne, protects his reputation among the Puritan people. The scaffold, a public symbol… View Article

Examining the Conflict of Good versus Evil in Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story entitled Young Goodman Brown is about a man who takes his journey to the forest to attend a special congregation—without knowing its real purpose in his life. Goodman Brown, the narrative’s protagonist believes that his faith is constant, true, and immovable, but as he takes his journey to the forest, readers… View Article

Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1804. His parents were Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Elizabeth Clark Manning. His father dies of yellow fever when he was four years old. He then grew up in the manning household with his grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Nathaniel Hawthorne was fond of taking long walks by… View Article

Both Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne

Both Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne may be classified as writers of the gothic fiction genre in English Literature. Gothic literature is characterized by themes of darkness, such as death, dread and decay. In Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart, death is a central concern. The protagonist is simply obsessed with the idea of… View Article

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… View Article

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… View Article

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… View Article

“The Scarlett Letter” Citation

In Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, the quote “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” stands true in many forms. Both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, prominent characters in the novel, convey this two-faced nature in… View Article

“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… View Article

Character analysis of Hester Prynne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne is a complex novel with in depth characterization. This analysis is about Hester Prynne, the main character and focuses on three of her attitudes, appearance, and morals. Hester’s physical appearance is developed and referred to often throughout the novel. Hawthorne paints a picture for the reader of Hester’s beauty…. View Article

The Fortunate Fall in Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter”

Sin, according to the concept of Felix culpa or the fortunate fall, is necessary in human life. Its entire idea is based on the fact that, in order to achieve greatness, man must first “fall”. He who rises above his offense evolves both spiritually and morally. In The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the character… View Article

Scarlet Letter Literary Paper

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, written in 1850, is a product of the literary struggle between Classicism and Romanticism. Classicism is based upon writing in a traditional tone that involves no emotion, while Romanticism is the idea of letting emotion flow through literary outlets, such as a novel. This struggle is plainly embodied in… View Article

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… View Article

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… View Article

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… View Article

  • 1

    Is Hester truly penitent for her crime?

    Answer: Though Hester regrets the effect her crime has had on her child and on her position in society, she sees Chillingworth's betrayal of Dimmesdale as an even greater crime. Ultimately, Hester learns to forgive herself for her sins while Dimmesdale does not.

  • 2

    Why does Dimmesdale intervene on Pearl's behalf when Governor Bellingham orders her removed from Hester's care?

    Answer: There are two possibilities: either he fears Hester revealing his name or he truly believes that Hester deserves to care for her daughter, since he is emotionally connected to Pearl as her father and wants Hester to raise her. Ultimately, we believe that it is guilt which motivates him most, since he comes to Hester's defense only after she looks at him with imploring eyes.

  • 3

    What is the difference between how adultery is viewed now and how it was viewed by Puritan society? In other words, where does the blame lie?

    Answer: In modern society, adultery is seen as a breach of contract between two people and therefore a private matter. In Puritan society, adultery was seen as a breach of contract between two people and the community in which they lived.

  • 4

    How is the Scarlet Letter embodied by Pearl?

    Answer: Pearl, in her wild, unrepressed passion, represents the adulterous passion of her parents, as does the scarlet letter. In her society, she is completely out of place, a child of illicit passion and a constant reminder, like the scarlet letter, of that passion.

  • 5

    Why does Dimmesdale keep putting his hand over his heart?

    Answer: Pearl asks this question repeatedly of her mother, but Hester will not answer her. Over time, we understand that Dimmesdale has literally and figuratively inscribed his own scarlet letter into the flesh above his heart so that he can commune with Hester's guilt, shame, and public excommunication.

  • 6

    Do people in the community believe Hester's punishment for adultery is too light or too strict?

    Answer: For the most part, they believe it is too lenient, and some advocate branding her with a hot iron or death, the sentence associated with the crime of adultery both in the New England statutes of the time and in the Bible. As time progresses, however, they loosen slightly in their attitudes, though not as much as Hester would expect. Those who acknowledge their own sinfulness are somewhat less quick to judge Hester and can see the case for a less strict punishment by the community.

  • 7

    What are the purposes of the opening Custom-House essay?

    Answer: The Custom-House introduction does more than increase the length of the novel, which Hawthorne thought was too short. It also adds a frame story and a romantic sense of truth or non-fiction to the tale. It introduces themes and imagery that will appear later in the novel. And it adds weight to the story by suggesting that the actual fabric of the scarlet letter continues to hold power.

  • 8

    Who is more racked by guilt, Hester or Dimmesdale?

    Answer: Dimmesdale has sinned according to his own system of beliefs, since as the town minister he has violated the values he has preached against for decades. He takes his guilt to heart and suffers mightily. Hester, meanwhile, has come to terms with her sin over time.

  • 9

    What do Dimmesdale and Chillingworth share, other than Hester herself?

    Answer: Both Dimmesdale and Chillingworth conceal their relationships to the adulterous act, leaving Hester as the only person to take public responsibility for the affair. They continue to maintain prominent roles in society. Both men are ultimately destroyed by this secrecy as they become entangled in a parasitic relationship.

  • 10

    Does Chillingworth ever forgive Hester?

    Answer: Chillingworth seems forgiving of Hester at the outset, and he seems to transfer his rage onto Dimmesdale, whom he pursues relentlessly. Indeed, he seems to understand that he shouldn't have married a woman who would never love him, but Dimmesdale must be punished for allowing Hester to indulge her passion. His sinister acts toward the end of the novel are ameliorated somewhat by his choice to leave his estate to Pearl.

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