Scarlet Letter Rhetorical Analysis

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In D.H. Lawrence’s critical essay, “On the Scarlet Letter”, Lawrence mocks Hester Prynne for being a lustful sinner who commits adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne's revered novel, The Scarlet Letter. Lawrence uses repetition, a caustic tone, and biblical allusions in order to show how impure Hester Prynne truly is. Lawrence’s use of repetition supports his argument that Hester is ultimately a seductress through her methods of luring the Reverend into her hands. This is evident when Lawerence uses parallelism to show that Hester only wants “to seduce a man. To have everybody know. To keep up [her appearance] of purity” (Lawrence). Hester is more than just a simple sinner of adultery. She is better defined as a sinner of deception. Throughout his essay, Lawrence constantly reiterates how her human nature is to be deceitful to the Reverend and the people around her. This negative attention would disturb most people, but for Hester however, this is something she lives and thrives off of. She provokes this even further by proclaiming innocence to the masses in the colony; innocence that is false and is only a mere illusion. Lawrence then turns to alliteration to show how she is an “adulteress. Alpha. Abel. Adam. A. America” (Lawrence). Hester is the antagonist whose only desire is to bring down the Reverend, bring down the colony, and, in a sense, bring down America. By adding the word “America”, Lawrence wants to make the point that even before the birth of this nation, evil still lurks in its shores. This evil takes a human form whose goal is to be the center, the core, the alpha of all mayhem that ravages these lands. This evil is sin. This evil is temptation. This evil is Hester Prynne. Through repetition, Lawrence is able to effectively show the insincerity that already lives in the New World through Hester’s impure soul. To strengthen his claim against the seductress, Lawrence incorporates a caustic tone as a way to prove the true meaning of purity and not have it be demoralized by the evil Hester. Lawrence explains this when he warns the common person to “mind [their] purity” and not allow Hester to “start tickling [he or she]” (Lawrence). One would think the act of tickling is a
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