The Scarlet Letter - Notes

This essay The Scarlet Letter - Notes has a total of 2004 words and 10 pages.

The Scarlet Letter - Notes


Author\'s Background:
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts on July 4th, 1804. Hawthorne lived poor due to his father\'s death when he was four, but he was helped by relatives and enrolled in college where he displayed an interest in writing. In college, he met a friend who would prove to be an invaluable help Franklin Pierce, future President of the United States. In 1825 he graduated and lived with his uncle in Salem for 12 years, devoting his time to reading, writing, and scrapping for publication. He spewed out several stories, but few sold for over $35 each. In 1837 Hawthorne took a job in the Custom-House in Boston. He grew bored with this work and the people around him, however, up to the point where he wrote The Custom House as an introduction to The Scarlet Letter. In this introduction he showed the dull life of working in a custom house. From the Custom-House, he left for Brooke Farm.

During his time at Brooke Farm, he met such thinkers as Emmerson and Thoreau. He also met and courted Sophia Peabody, and left Brooke Farm with her in 1842 to stay at "Old Manse", the Emmerson homestead. When Emmerson returned to Old Manse, Hawthorne left and went to Salem to live with Sophia. From this point, Hawthorne won a job at the Salem Custom-House due to a political appointment from his college friend Franklin Pierce. However, when the political winds changed to Zachary Taylor, he lost his job and devoted himself to writing at his wife\'s insistence. The result was The Scarlet Letter, which was the beginning of a successful series of books including The House of Seven Gables in 1851, The Blithedale Romance in 1852, and Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls in 1853. With this success and the aid of President Franklin Pierce, he was appointed as US consul to Liverpool, England. This was a reward for writing Pierce\'s biography.

Hawthorne\'s final years are sketchy. On a voyage back to Plymouth, New Hampshire, he became deathly ill and died on May 19, 1864. He was buried on Concord, Massachusetts.

Literary Period and Setting
Literary Period: Romanticism and Transcendentalism
Setting: Boston, Massachusetts. USA 1842-1849

CharactersHester Prynne
A) Hester was a beautiful young woman who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She is proud and strong, but commits the sin of adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale while her husband is supposedly in England finishing up some work. Pearl is the product of this sin and Hester is forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her bosom for the rest of her life to show her sin. Isolated from the community, Hester is forced to rise a step higher than average for respect in the Puritan community.
B) Hester is motivated by her loves for Pearl and Dimmesdale and by her belief in the Puritan values.
C) In the end, Hester\'s letter begins to mean "able" to the townspeople in place of "adulteress". After her husband\'s death, she takes Pearl away from Boston, but returns to live out her life with the letter according to Puritan code.

Reverend Dimmesdale
A) The young minister of Boston. He commits adultery with the young Hester Prynne.
He is forced to go through life with the secret knowledge of the crime he has committed and convinces himself that this is the only way. He tells himself that people look up to him for moral and spiritual support and he must be perfect in their eyes. However, at home, he fasts and scourges himself to make penitence for his sin.
B) His guilt, as well as his belief in Puritan values and his inner turmoil are his motivating factors.
C) Dimmesdale finally reveals himself on the scaffold to Boston as the sinner who had committed adultery with Hester Prynne. He then promptly dies, freed from his inner burden.

Pearl
A) Pearl was the child brought about by Hester and Dimmesdale\'s sin. She was brought up by her mother, but never fully adapted to Puritan ways. Because of her energy and her origins, Pearl was not accepted by other children. Pearl was a rebellious child throughout her life, serving constantly as a reminder to her mother of the sin she and Dimmesdale shared.
B) Pearl was motivated by her energy, free spirit, and love of nature.
C) Pearl ends up inheriting a large amount of

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Topics Related to The Scarlet Letter - Notes

English-language films, The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Prynne, Hester, Chillingworth, Pearl, Hawthorne, Roger's Version

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