Analytical Essay on the Scarlet Letter

2040 Words Dec 23rd, 2005 9 Pages
In his book, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells of a story where a young woman has had an adulterous relationship with a respected priest in a Puritan community. Typical of Hawthorne's writings is the use of imagery and symbolism. In Chapter 12, The Minister's Vigil, there are several uses of imagery when Dimmesdale, the priest, is battling with confessing his sin, which has plagued him for seven years. Three evident techniques used to personify symbolism in this chapter are the use of darkness versus light, the use of inner guilt versus confession, and lastly the use of colors (black versus white). Hawthorne's use of darkness versus light is vivid throughout the entire book. However, there are two very important passages …show more content…
However, Arthur Dimmesdale's confession is not as clear and resounding as he wants it to be. His shriek in the night was only loud to him because he partly wanted to confess, and he perhaps thought that in standing on the scaffold he was taking a huge step. When a person gets to this point, they have two options according to Hawthorne. Either go all the way in confessing or go half-heartedly into it, and if this path is taken, it is more likely to stay hidden. Dimmesdale, himself, does try keeping it hidden even longer since no one found him there that night. However this should be viewed as a failure of Dimmesdale's courage lacking for necessary confession, rather than character for repentance.
Another use of inner guilt versus confession is used when Dimmesdale is on the scaffold with
Hester Prynne and Pearl. "The minister felt for the child's other hand, and took it. The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and child were communicating their vital warmth to his half torpid-system" (Page 134).
At this point in the chapter, Hawthorne expresses that Dimmesdale was on the verge of true repentance and confession. He even caught a glimpse

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