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The Scarlet Letter


The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne On Hawthorne s career choice in his own words I do not want to be a doctor and live by men s diseases, nor a minister ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

(No Transcript)
On Hawthornes career choicein his own words
  • I do not want to be a doctor and live by mens
    diseases, nor a minister to live by their sins,
    nor a lawyer to live by their quarrels. So, I
    dont see that there is anything left for me but
    to be an author.

Writing didnt provide financial security for his
family, so he took a job as a surveyor for the
port of Salem.
  • Lost this position when the Whigs won in 1848
  • This job loss gave him the time to write The
    Scarlet Letter (1850)

  • Became acquainted with Henry David Thoreau and
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (transcendentalists)
  • They influenced his thinking about the importance
    of intuition rather than intellect in uncovering
    the truths of nature and human beings.

Hawthorne disagreed with them though
  • If left to their own devices, humans would not
    act good as transcend. thought
  • Humans are flawed and primal urges would prevail

Evidence of this
  • The Civil War
  • Slavery
  • Hawthorne had grown up with some Puritan
    influencesgrandfather actually participated in
    Salem Witch Trials (Hathorne)he was a judge
  • Added the w to dissociate from relatives

Works part of Romantic Movement
  • Themes are inherent evil and sin of humanity

The Scarlet Letter
  • Can be considered a love story
  • Themes about the subjects of Puritans, sin,
    guilt, and the human conflict between emotions
    and intellect
  • Allegorical

  • A story where characters, objects, and events
    have a hidden meaning and are used to present
    some universal lesson

The Custom House
  • Outlines biographical info. about the author
  • worked at a Custom House b/c needed job security
  • this job stifles his creativity and imagination
  • provides discussion of his ancestors calling
    them gravebitter persecutors whose better
    deeds will be diminished by their bad ones.

  • Defines the romance novel, particularly the
    psychological romance novel
  • Psychological romance---techniques of romance
    (use of light and setting), but add deep, probing
    portraits of human beings in conflict with

  • Authenticates the basis of the novel by
    explaining the discovery of a scarlet A in
    parchment paper in the Custom House
  • Gives the story an air of historical truth
  • no real evidence this is true.

  • Highlights conflicting values/ideology of past
    and present
  • Puritanism consumed by commercialism and
    financial interests of 1700s
  • the Old General contrasted sharply to the new
    workers in the Custom House