December 19, 2002
The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Genre: Drama, Fiction
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts during July 4, 1804. Hawthorne’s work was not based on his life because his life was so “uneventful”. He lived with his two sisters and his widowed mother. His uncle provided the necessary money for Nathaniel to go to college in Maine. After he graduated in 1825, he then worked publishing a number of short stories and sketches in magazines and newspapers until 1837. He joined the Utopian society of Brook Farm in 1841. In 1842, he married Sophia Peabody and moved to Concord, Massachusetts. Nathaniel’s most productive writing years was from 1849 to 1852. One of the many novels and short stories he wrote during this time period was The Scarlet Letter. In 1852, Nathaniel wrote a campaign biography of Franklin Pierce, an old college buddy. When Pierce was elected president, Hawthorne was appointed United States Council in Liverpool, England. He died at the young age of 60, during 1864.
Hawthorne’s work wrote from an American viewpoint because he felt that too much written at that time simply imitated English writing styles. His works dealt with the imaginary and the real. Hawthorne also provided moral and psychological insight into the reason why human beings do things.
The Scarlet Letter was published during 1850. It was the time right before the Civil War when tensions between the North and South started to heat up. I imagine that Hawthorne was on the Northern side since he lived in Massachusetts and went to college in Maine. When Hawthorne was appointed United States Counsel in England in 1853, I’m sure there were many issues he had to deal with regarding the antagonism between the North and South. Ironically, the novel, The Scarlet Letter, does not show any signs of the dispute over slavery.
“There is a fatality, a feeling so irresistable and inevitable…”
“Come, let us spling mud at them.”
“He shall not take her, I will die first.”
“Hester’s strong, calm, steadfastly enduring spirit almost sank at last on beholding this dark and grim countenance of an inevitable doom.”
“It seemed hardly the face of a man alive, with such a death-like hugh.”
“On a field black, the letter “A” red.”
“No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
“But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose.”
“Ah, but let her cover the mark as she will, the pain of it will be always in her heart”
“A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.”
Hester and Pearl
Forever disdaining her from society
And from her sin comes a beautiful child unblessed
Ignorant and Innocuous receives notoriety
For seven years they take verbal abuse
Not complaining nor revealing the father
At first some screamed “get the noose!”
But after time they wouldn’t even bother.
Seven years she was forgiving and nice
And disregarded the way she had been treated
Then people began to realize
That it was in the past, further torture was not needed.
A man torn in two
Does not know what to do
To tell or not tell
He feels he is going to hell
An “A” shaped scar on his chest
Puts this man to the test
After seven years
Of being brought to tears
He tells all the truth
Of what he did in his youth
After seven long years of lies
His heart gives out on him, and he dies.
Chillingworth, after finding out, what his wife had done
Went out on account of revenge, not to shoot him with a gun
But to taint his soul, and he seemed to have fun
Oh, what a man, …Mr. Chillingworth
He would not stop, until that man would go pop!
He suspected Mr. Dimmesdale, he moved in like a tobacco crop
After he found out, he mentally tortured him ‘till he popped his top
Oh, what a man, …Mr. Chillingworth