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Hawthorne and Romanticism   I.  Hawthorne the writer:   One of the world’s greatest writers   Symbolism – most significant technique Used symbols more than others writers of the time period. Used symbols purposefully.   His writings examine ethical problems – not necessarily religious ones. His writings were strongly influenced by Puritan thought.   Writing is not systematic   Philosophical writer Hawthorne obsessed with the nature of good and evil goodness and sin right and wrong Hawthorne asked these basic questions of life: What the true sources of sin? Is sin inborn? Is a person who never had a chance to sin innocent? Can a sinner truly repent? What is the real fortress of evil? (the human heart)   Hawthorne is a pessimist He ridiculed the Transcendentalist philosophers. He had no faith in nature’s goodness. He sees the heart of man wicked. He believed no mistake is ever set right. He believed there is no reward for good behavior.   Hawthorne’s writing and inconclusive, ambiguous. The reader has to make his choices after seeing both sides by intuition, not logic Hawthorne’s techniques Symbolism – used frequently Characterization – characters are flat; often are used as symbols (allegory) Dialogue – weak; all characters talk the same Plot – secondary to importance of theme Theme – meaning most important; philosophical concepts   II. The Scarlet Letter   Names of some characters are suggestive Chillingworth – suggests a cold-hearted man Dimmesdale – literally a “dim valley” Pearl – grew from an imperfection; mother paid a great price for her   Arthur Dimmesdale not strong; highly mystical paradoxical life; his sin made him a better minister, but not a better man   Differences between Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale Hester commits and admits her sin; her life is healthy. Dimmesdale commits sin but doesn’t tell; this kills him.   Dimmesdale’s character helps examine the effects of sin the nature of good and evil   Chillingworth’s character Originally a kind and gentle man; older than Hester. His personal revenge makes him selfish and cruel; referred to as the devil.   The book is called a romance, yet there are no passionate love scenes. due to the time period; society censored Hawthorne wants reader to focus on the effects of sin, not sin itself   Evidence of Hester’s strength survived in a tough colonial community (physically and emotionally) fought for custody of Pearl carried Dimmesdale up the scaffold in final scene refused to implicate Dimmesdale would not remove the Scarlet A   Pearl’s personality beautiful result of a sin different from other children intuitive, teasing, and free   The scaffold scene story begins with Hester on the scaffold Chapter 11, Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale on scaffold (seven years later – night) Final scene with all three present on scaffold (day)   Symbols Scaffold – sin; punishment forest – moral wilderness; savagery, unpleasantness, danger City – society Rosebush – sweet moral blossom Sunshine – happiness Brook – Pearl’s life   III. Elements of Romanticism love of nature as a revelation of truth sympathetic interest in past interest in the psychology of emotions criticism of the norm mysticism and supernatural individual as the center of literature    
Posted by SeekerP  On Aug 22, 2014 at 2:39 PM 30 Comments
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