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Citizen Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an 1850s fictional novel about Hester Prynne’s experience due to her act of adultery. The novel starts off with an introduction entitled “The Custom-House,” which is what provides the framework for the narrative of the book. The narrator tells of his experience being the surveyor of the Salem Custom House. As he is rummaging around one day, he finds a scarlet and embroidered cloth in the shape of the letter “A.” His findings spark his interest and after always wanting to be a writer, he decided to write a fictional account of Hester Prynne and her scarlet letter.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a very visual writer; in other words, he knew how to appeal to the reader’s visual senses. For example, as Hawthorne describes the scarlet letter “A,” he refers to it as “so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom” (51). The footnote then goes on to describe his use of the word “illuminated” as decorated, as with letters in old manuscripts. This descriptive statement about the scarlet letter can help the reader visualize exactly what the letter looked like. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne gave a new twist to the theme of citizen isolation in a community. He addressed modern themes with dialogue and description. There is dialogue between Hester Prynne and all people of the town throughout the novel. Based on this novel, Hawthorne wrote his modern-themed novels after his own religious beliefs. Hawthorne came from a Puritan
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