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Nathaniel Hawthorne


Ancestor William Hathorne was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials, prompting ... The narrator addresses his audience. Not many ships come through Salem anymore ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Born in Salem, Mass., on July 4, 1804 into a
    prominent Puritan family.
  • Ancestor William Hathorne was a judge in the
    Salem Witch Trials, prompting Hawthorne to change
    the spelling of his name.
  • After graduation, Hawthorne spent 12 years
    writing and in seclusion.

Painting by Charles Osgood, courtesy of the
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
  • His first novel, Fanshawe A Tale was published
    anonymously at his own expense. It failed
    miserably and Hawthorne destroyed all the copies
    he could.
  • Worked in the Boston customhouse which inspired
    the introduction to The Scarlet Letter titled
    The Custom House.
  • Married and settled in Concord, Mass. next to
    neighbors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David
    Thoreau liberal thinkers who rejected the
    spirit of Puritanism. Hawthorne did not
    subscribe to their belief system, known as

The Scarlet Letter
  • In the novel, Hester Prynne is punished for
    committing the sin of adultery.
  • Historical records show that fornication and
    adultery were two of the most common crimes
    committed in Puritan New England.

  • The frequency of these crimes were accepted
    because Puritans believed humans by nature were
    sinful and weak.
  • Punishments for these crimes included whipping,
    fines, branding, a symbolic execution where the
    offender would stand on the gallows for an hour
    with a rope about the neck.
  • In only three cases was the death penalty applied.

Literary Context
  • Although set in the 17th century, the novel is
    part of the Romanticism movement of the 19th
    century which explored the inner wildness of the
    human soul.
  • Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe led the Romantic
    movement with their exploration of the darker
    side of humanity.

The Custom House
  • The narrator addresses his audience
  • Not many ships come through Salem anymore
  • Discovery of a dress with an embroidered A and
    historical documents written by Jonathan Pue more
    than 100 years ago
  • Decides to write the story of Hester Prynne but
    encounters writers block
  • Losing his job (like Hawthorne) frees him from
    his writers block

Main Characters
Hester Prynne
  • Lives alone in Boston for several years.
  • Husband is missing, thus her pregnancy exposes
    her crime.
  • She gives birth to the child and refuses to name
    the father.

Arthur Dimmesdale
  • Popular and admired young clergyman.
  • Affected strongly both physically and mentally by
    Hesters sin.

Roger Chillingworth
  • Hesters husband who arrives from captivity with
    the Indians to see his wife standing on the
    scaffold, holding an infant.
  • Develops as the major antagonist as he pursues
    his revenge.

  • Hesters daughter, who is the embodiment of sin.

  • Study Guide for The Scarlet Letter, Holt,
    Rinehart, and Winston
  • All pictures obtained from http//www.eldritchpres except where noted.

  • Read Chapters 1-14 by Jan 4th, complete novel by
    Jan 14th
  • Annotated Glossary Setting and Archetype due
    Jan 4th
  • Annotated Bibliography due Jan 15th
  • Choose article tomorrow when you come into class.

  • A term brought into literary criticism from the
    depth psychology of Carl Jung, who holds that
    behind each individuals unconsciousthe
    blocked-off residue of his pastlies the
    collective unconscious of the human racethe
    blocked-off memory of our racial past, even of
    our prehuman experiences. This unconscious
    racial memory makes powerfully effective for us a
    group of primordial images shaped by the
    repeated experience of our ancestors and
    expressed in myths, religion, dreams, fantasies,
    and literature. The literary critic applies the
    term to an image, a descriptive detail, a plot
    pattern, or a character type that occurs
    frequently in literature, myth, religion, or
    folklore and is, therefore, believed to evoke
    profound emotions because it touches the
    unconscious memory and thus calls into play
    illogical but strong responses.