Scarlet Letter

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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In classical literature, there are numerous techniques one may use in order to establish a novel that will be read for many generations. The plot itself should, of course, contain some kind of moral or situation that can be recognized and appreciated worldwide and for all time. Along with this moral, however, the novel itself must be presented in such a way that the reader can connect through reading. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne encompasses these elements that gives the reader an appreciation for both the implied message, and the art of how he or she masters writing the novel. With Hawthorne's imaginative personal technique, he uses a sensory experiencing diction, imagery that allows the reader to become engulfed within the lines of text, and his own tone that can be seen through his attitude toward his subjects.

"On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread, appeared the letter A.

It was so artistically done"¦with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy"¦"(50).

The author has a varying usage of adjectives that really helps give his descriptions different personalities; and as a reader it enables him/her to visualize the situation in a different manner. One may now be able to imagine this exquisite gown with the letter "A" embroidered across the gown's breast. The metaphor used to compare her gown to being fertile also enables the reader to view the dress in a different light. Throughout the novel, this kind of detailed diction sets important information aside, notifying the reader that because it is heavily emphasized, there is a significance represented.

Most importantly, imagery is often used to contribute to the novel by evoking vivid experience. When reading a paragraph that uses a heavy amount of imagery, this should be immediately distinguished for a reader; he/she should have a sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell through the written detail.

"¦the infant's eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter; and putting up her little hand, she grasped at it, smiling not doubtfully, but with a decided gleam"¦Then, gasping for breath did Hester Prynne clutch the fatal token, instinctively endeavoring to tear it away"¦(80).

This evokes a memory, a vivid experience before the reader, and also it helps to give the novel more depth and understanding to the plot. As the reader can now see the "glimmering" gold, he/she can "grasp" the letter and gasp for breath as he/she begins to take on the character's life.

Through Nathaniel Hawthorne's tone, the novel has a certain attitude toward his subject(s) and audience. This particular tone can be determined by either reading a single paragraph and/or can be established from the first until the last page.

"It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human sorrow and frailty" (47). So much has already been established that can direct the reader to the author's melancholy attitude throughout the novel. From the beginning the reader has developed the melancholy-like attitude to help him/her to fully understand the atmosphere the characters thrive in so that they may now comprehend the novel to a higher degree.

Timeless, classical literature will remain and linger on to show and teach societies lessons of people of the past. This, however, cannot be established by itself. There has to be a great author behind every novel who has mastered the necessary elements to correctly unravel these classics before an unknowing audience. Without this specific art, these well-known classics would be difficult to become loved by so many, and cherished by thousands.