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The Scarlet Letter: Yin and Yang in Literature.

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Michael Tafoya Mrs. Green English 11 AP, period 6 January 6, 2001 The Scarlet Letter: Yin and Yang in Literature Many people of the world contend with living their life as realistically as they can, knowing where their limits are. To them, life has a tragic dimension to it, where all that one desires may not turn out as he or she hoped it would. And through this time, some endure hardships that test their levels of patience, dexterity, and will. In his novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorn writes of a woman's seven years of pain-staking tribulations, and how she manages to cope with life through this hard time. By employing realistic characters, themes, emotions, Hawthorne creates a sense that there is a great gap between human desire and human possibility. A mother's job includes teaching her children to respect the morals of nature and of society, while at the same time living according to their own beliefs. Hester Prynne is this kind of mother. Because of her act of adultery, Hester bears a child, a daughter she names Pearl. As well as receiving this child, she acquires a scarlet letter "A", which now dawns on the breast of her clothing. She must, for the rest of her natural life, wear this letter to signify her fault, which is immense in the eyes of the Puritan society. ...read more.


Because his plans are finally foiled, and he has nothing else to live on trying to prove, Chillingworth soon dies. The themes of the novel itself place the story inside the lines of anti-transcendentalism. Hawthorne writes, through his characters, that if something must be known, then there is nothing, not even divine intervention, that will stop it from revealing it self. Even though Hester tried to keep the name of Pearl's father a secret, and Chillingworth tried so hard to be the one to reveal it, neither of the two were able to control the outcome of the events. Since the beginning of the novel, Pearl is the embodiment of the consequences of Hester's adultery and of the scarlet letter (Spark Notes). As the "living scarlet letter," Pearl's main purpose in the novel was to teach Dimmesdale and Hester that no one can run from their past forever. They finally learn this lesson at the end of the story when Dimmesdale reveals that he is infact Pearl's father, and both he and Hester take responsibility for their sin. Hawthorne writes of the distinct separation of the wilderness and the Puritanical town of Boston. Inside the city of Boston, the laws are upheld and morals are kept in tact. ...read more.


From the children throwing stones at her and Pearl, to the adults talking about her behind her back, Hester can't get any peace. Having mastered the characteristics of an anti-transcendentalist writer, Hawthorne also exhibits attributes of other schools of thought. Because Hester's past lingers in the present, it might be considered to be in the romantic field. It also deals with the human nature. And because the Puritans felt that rules were very important and should not be broken. Thus, Hawthorne's book could be partially placed under the school of thought of regionalism. Finally, because the story focuses on the real condition of humanity, realism might be an attribute of this story. A great deal of the story line focuses on how Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth feel about the situations. When reading any story, it is best to see all aspects of the story. Accordingly, both the dark and light sides of the story must be told. True, it is not necessary to focus on one more than the other. But, each must be told of equally. And through his characters and themes, Hawthorne makes sure that he doesn't just write about one side of life. For every passion of love Hester experiences, there is a humiliation to go along with it. People should be able to realize that everything comes with a grain of salt; not everything will turn out the way one wants it to. ...read more.

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