Scarlet Letter Essay

Submitted By catieevans
Words: 478
Pages: 2

A simple letter of the alphabet transforms into a symbol of sin, shame, and identity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter. In the Scarlet letter, as a punishment for the crime of adultery, Hester becomes forced to wear the scarlet letter A for the duration of her life. In Puritan Boston, which the story sets, the town considers adultery an ignominious act. In the romance The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses diction, and point of view to create a critical and analytical tone in order to show the disparities in Puritan life, ultimately dictating the style in which the story is told. Hawthorne's style is ambiguous at best. There are many passages in the novel that are left open to interpretation. This results from Hawthorne’s attempt at an unbiased view as the narrator. Hawthorne’s use of diction largely contributes to the tone and way the story perceives itself in the readers mind. Hawthorne asks many rhetorical questions throughout the passages for example, “What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him--yea, compel him, as it were--to add hypocrisy to sin?”. Here Hawthorne asks a question but in asking this question he provides his own answer and opinion. Yes, his rhetorical questions cause readers to think and ask themselves this question but Hawthorne also adds a sense of personal opinion that effects that readers thought. Hawthorn also uses exceptional grammar, carefully placing multiple commas, elongating his already complex sentences that lends to the complex and critical feel of the story. Hawthorne places contradictory phrases throughout his sentences, creating a sense of mystery. He has embellishing vocabulary, at times stopping the reader in his or her tracks to define the word. Hawthorne writes in a way that requires readers to stop and think. He writes as though in an