Gothic elements in the scarlet letter

Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne who test our imagination with images of the sublime, eerie, ghostly, melancholic, gloomy and deathly variety. After reading few of their short stories it becomes impossible not to catch sight of the similarity of characters, setting and narration. The horrifying events described at the very end of the story, with Madeline coming back from the dead and back to the mansion, are not the result of a single circumstance but from a collision of events. Both of which are central themes in the story at hand.

Gothic elements in the scarlet letter

He contributed four major romances to the world's literature: In each of these he sought, in the prefaces, to define what romance meant to him. In the Custom House preface of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne discusses part of his concept or definition of the romance novel.

He explains that life seen through moonlight is the subject of the novel. If the writer is sitting in a room in the moonlight and looks around at the familiar items Gothic elements in the scarlet letter the floor — a wicker carriage or a hobby horse, for example — he can discern a quality of "strangeness and remoteness" in these familiar objects.

And so he has found a territory in which the familiar becomes enchanted and "the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other.

Hawthorne proposes to study the effects of sin on the lives of his characters. Far ahead of his time, he delves into human alienation and what it does to the soul. Doubt and self-torture provide psychological shadows in the character of Dimmesdale. Rebellion and defiance in the face of repressive laws can be seen in his heroine, Hester Prynne.

She may be forced to wear the scarlet letter, but she mocks that sentence with her elaborate embroidery. The Puritan concern with man's depravity and its effect on individual characters is intertwined throughout the plot.

What happens when a person has an excess of passion or intellect? When a balance of the two is not achieved in an individual, what is the end result? Within the framework of the romance, Hawthorne lays out his evidence of the psychological conflicts within and around his characters.

The Real and the Imaginary What this means for the modern reader of The Scarlet Letter is that, even though Hawthorne's story has a historical setting — Boston in the s — the story includes elements that are not realistic. While the Puritan society was real and can be researched, the tale also contains elements of that society that are colored by marvelous imagination in his novel.

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Does this mean that there will be no limits to what Hawthorne can manufacture in his fancy? No, there are restraints. Hawthorne attempted to explain those conventions in his preface to The House of the Seven Gables, his next novel: The latter form of composition is presumed to aim at a very minute fidelity, not merely to the possible, but to the probably and ordinary course of man's experience.

The former — while, as a work of art, it must rigidly subject itself to laws, and while it sins unpardonably so far as it may swerve aside from the truth of the human heart — has fairly a right to present that truth under circumstances, to a great extent, of the writer's own choosing or creation.

Gothic elements in the scarlet letter

If he think fit, also, he may so manage his atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights and deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture. He will be wise, no doubt, to make very moderate use of the privileges here stated, and, especially, to mingle the Marvellous rather as a slight, delicate, and evanescent flavor, than as any portion of the actual substance of the dish offered to the public.

The setting of Boston in the s is a perfect choice for this type of writing. Seventeenth century Bostonians believed in devils, witches, and a vengeful and angry God.

So not only is Hawthorne truthful to present his setting in that light, but he also leaves ample room for the imagined and the extraordinary. Romances can concern real settings but are not limited to the probable. The fantastic can be added, and, in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne adds the scarlet A in the sky at midnight, the same letter allegedly carved into Dimmesdale's breast, the sunlight that follows Pearl but not her mother, and Chillingworth descending into hell.

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But there must be a balance; the probable must outweigh the strange and improbable, which leads to another tenet of Hawthorne's romance definition. Unity and Structure Certain artistic laws must be faithfully executed so that the reader can follow the trail.

There must be unity and structure, literary devices, and a subject kept ever in the reader's sight. In The Scarlet Letter, the scaffold scenes provide the unity and structure, and the literary devices include symbols, colors of light and darkness, irony, and the consistent subject of guilt to provide artistic wholeness.

While Hawthorne can go beyond the probable and use the marvelous, he must also do so without chaos; hence, he must provide artistic balance. Gothic Elements These definitions of Hawthorne's romance are also joined by another tradition: Gothic novels often featured supernatural events, gloomy atmospheres, castles, and the mysterious.

While eighteenth century writers did not like these subjects, the Romantic authors of the nineteenth century and their successors did.

Traditionally, there are a number of these Gothic elements. One used by romantic authors is a manuscript that is purported to be the origin of the story.The Scarlet Letter ADVANCED PLACEMENT TEACHING UNIT OBJECTIVES The Scarlet Letter Objectives By the end of this Unit, the student will be able to: identify the major elements of Romantic and Gothic literature; 6.

discuss the structural development of the novel in terms of exposition, conflict, climax, resolution. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical novel The Scarlet Letter explores guilt, revenge, and redemption in colonial America.

Hawthorne blends supernatural elements with psychological insight in his story of one woman’s public punishment for adultery. Gothic Elements Present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Words Feb 25th, 5 Pages Gothic is a method of literature with particular traits.

The Scarlet Letter Analysis Literary Devices in The Scarlet Letter. Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. The prison door is described as having never known "a youthful era," i.e., innocence (). It’s made of iron and is a little worse for wear, if you catch our drift.

Yet, the wild rosebush that g. The thesis deals with Hawthorne's four romances - The Scarlet letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance and The Marble Faun. In the first three, Hawthorne is hampered by his Puritan conscience so scholars recognize this Gothic element in Hawthorne's tales and romances, their treatment of it is often fragmentary and.

the scarlet letter CHAPTER I. THE PRISON-DOOR A throng of bearded men, in sad-coloured garments and grey steeple-crowned hats, inter-mixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

Novel, Romance, and Gothic: Brief Definitions