Rhetorical Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' The Scarlet Letter '

1877 Words Nov 16th, 2015 8 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis During the 17th century, a Puritan commonwealth presided over Boston and was known for its strict adherence to religious, moral and social codes. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes rhetorical strategies in order to denounce the Puritan system of beliefs and bring to light the hypocrisy of the Puritan community as he tells the agonizing story of a young woman who was condemned by society.
In passage 1, the Hawthorne employs an allusion when he explains that Hester names her child Pearl because “Hester purchased her with all she had.” This is a reference to the bible when Jesus calls heaven a “pearl of great price” and declares that when someone comes across a pearl, he shall sell all he has to buy it. The author includes this allusion to convey how important Pearl is to Hester and to connect the meaning of Pearl’s name to religion, for religion presides over all in Puritan society. Hawthorne also uses exclamations to show how valuable Pearl is to her mother. But, at the same time, he points out that Pearl is Hester’s source of shame and torture. The function of the child parallels the function of the scarlet letter. They are both a reminder of Hester’s wrongdoing but become a huge part of her identity that she cannot live without. Hawthorne creates a sense of situational irony when he introduces the idea that in creating Pearl, Hester loses everything, her pride, her reputation and her social life, but at the same time she gains…
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