AP Language and Composition
5 October 2016
The Affair of the Affair
In his essay “On the Scarlet Letter”, D. H. Lawrence ridicules Nathaniel Hawthorne’s protagonist Hester Prynne. He views Hester as an abomination who seduced society to maneuver her way out of punishment of an unforgivable sin. In order to achieve his purpose of mocking Hester Prynne, Lawrence uses derogatory diction, structured syntax, and biblical allusions.
D. H. Lawrence incorporates derogatory diction to mock Hester Prynne because his ideals do not correspond with Hawthorne’s true intention of the character. In the novel, Hester overcomes social destitution and redeems herself through her benevolent actions. Lawrence argues that …show more content…
H. Lawrence also uses structured syntax to present Hester’s flaws and make his point that she is a corrupt person. In stating all of the problems he has with Hawthorne’s central character, Lawrence adopts a numbering approach to systematically deteriorate Hester in order to show how artificial she truly is. He opens his criticism by stating “the Scarlet Letter gives the show away” (Lawrence 1). He wants to prove how staged her character is by using a predetermined system, much like how he feels the character is written. Lawrence continues nitpicking by saying “and the first thing she does is...seduce...and the second thing they do is...hug their sin in secret” (Lawrence 4 & 6). His relentless and systematic jabs at Hester disestablish what her character stands for in the novel - perseverance and empowerment. Lawrence’s use of structured syntax successfully assists him in his purpose of ridiculing Hawthorne’s character because it portrays how Hester is unoriginal and …show more content…
Lawrence’s alludes to a son of Adam and Eve when he exclaims “Abel! Abel! Abel! Admirable!” (Lawrence 22). According to the Bible, Abel was killed by his brother Cain, so by saying this, Lawrence is categorizing both Abel and Hester as victims; weak people who could not overcome tragedy. Abel was the first martyr, and Hester is an adultress; at first, it may appear like they are figures that are admirable to society because they either stand for something bigger or overcome hardship, but by using repetition Lawrence enforces that both are victims and therefore weak. Lawrence specifically calls Hester “Mary of the Bleeding Heart” to portray how she is anything but empowering; she is woeful, devastated, and ultimately deplorable. Lawrence’s use of biblical allusions undermine Hester Prynne’s authority as an influential and motivational community figure because in the end she is still a sinner, and will always be a victim of Puritan