Blog #2

This blog will be open until Monday June 20, 2011.  Please respond within that time period or you will not receive points.  Respond to the prompt below once, and respond to someone else’s blog post once (a total of two blog entries).

Read/skim the Introduction to Romanticism article.  Choose one characteristic of the Romantic period and discuss how The Scarlet Letter or a character from the novel fit the characteristics of a Romantic text.  *Please feel free to quote the article, novel, or summarize passages, but make sure to give reference to the text.

 


Comments

Shikeb Momini
06/17/2011 00:18

The Scarlet Letter fits the romanticism characteristics of symbolism and myth. The first example of this being the scarlet letter on Hester Prynne’s bosom. It symbolizes the sin and crime that the Puritans said Hester Prynne committed. It also represents the punishment she was given and must live with forever as seen at the last page when burial-ground is described, “ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A, GULES”. Another example supporting this would be Pearl. She is seen as the product of her mother’s sin. To her mother she symbolized a mythical elf-child and other things as said throughout the book like the brook that is spoken of, “Pearl resembled the brook, inasmuch as the current of her life gushed from a well-spring as mysterious, and had flowed through scenes shadowed as heavily with gloom. But, unlike the little stream, she danced and sparkled, and prattled airily along her course”(XVI. A forest walk, pg.149). The minister always keeping his hand over his heart symbolized his own internal scarlet letter that burned and tortured him. In the article it said “In the Romantic view, symbols were the human aesthetic correlatives of nature's emblematic language”, and in the book, as seen from the examples given, the people had and there were “aesthetic correlatives of nature's emblematic language”.

Examples of the characteristics of myth are seen in Pearl and in the forest. Pearl’s mother would wonder if Pearl was even human and saw her as an mythical elf at times. In the forest lies the myth of “The Black Man”. The views of the people in the book show the symbolism and myth within The Scarlet Letter. The letter A was put on Hester, who committed a sin, and it became a symbol of shame and sinfulness because the people’s views of her. How the old mistress saw things started the myth of the Black Man haunting the forest. The Characteristics of symbolism and myths are seen in all the normal things or actions that were given greater meanings in the book or the interpretation of the reader. The Scarlet Letter fits perfectly with the romanticism characteristics of symbolism and myth because those characteristics play a large part in the story. If the scarlet letter A didn't symbolize anything the book would basically have no meaning or point.

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Adrian Andrade
06/17/2011 04:06

The title of the book, The Scarlet Letter, suggests an ironic symbol in itself. It exemplifies both the literal and figurative meaning behind the letter A with reddish dye. The letter A both stands out to be the first letter of the alphabet and the first letter of the title adulterer, which was given to Hester Prynne. According to the basic tenets of Romantic literature, symbols gave prominence to the art of the story. The literal and figurative meanings of these symbols lead to the emotional value of expressions causing the audience to formulate a mental bond and attraction to the novel. Thus entices its popularity and connection relating the audience to the book.
A symbol that fits the criteria of the romantic text is the rosebush near the prison door. The rosebush adds a sense of hope within the book. “Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass-plot, much overgrown with burdock, pig-weed, apple-peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty… ”(Chapter I: The Prison-Door; pages 43-44). This elegant wild rosebush sparkled and blossomed around a demeaning patch of grass, symbolizing how Hester Prynne is able to shine above all with her beauty, prowess in fabric and sewing, and her individualism to survive without support and isolation. The occurrence that a rosebush would be able to survive in these conditions also facilitates the idea of hope for Hester and her daughter Pearl following the adultery scandal.
“… looking upward to the zenith, beheld there the appearance of an immense letter,—the letter A,—marked out in lines of dull red light. Not but the meteor may have shown itself at that point, burning duskily through a veil of cloud; but with no such shape as his guilty imagination gave it; or, at least, with so little definiteness, that another’s guilt might have seen another symbol in it.” (Chapter XII: The Minister’s Vigil; page 145). Another symbol that adds to the Romantic affect of the story is the flashing meteor, which ironically made a letter A in a dull red light. Many townsmen believe the A represented “angel” for Governor Winthrop who had recently passed that night. To Dimmesdale, the true meaning behind this mysterious A may ruin his authority or holy appearance. The A stood as a hidden mistake of his unchangeable secret with Hester Prynne. Minister Dimmesdale was clandestinely the lover of Hester and Pearl’s father.
If it weren’t for the emotional reaction advocated by the symbolism of The Scarlet Letter, the imminence of the Romantic trait will unconditionally fail under a true meaning of love, guilt, and vengeance.
*My book isn’t like others. Chapter one starts on page 43. Sorry for any confusion.

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Celia Chen
06/17/2011 05:18

Scarlet letter is considered a novel of historical romance, written in the middle of the American literary movement. Within the novel, there are visible historical contexts. Historical contexts in the early Romantic period is able to influence the style and structure of a piece of writing. According to Scarlet Letter, witch trials were quite popular during that time period in early America. People believed that witches existed and were to be executed. The first example would be of what Mr. Wilson said, "She needs no old woman's broomstick to fly withal!" (pg. 106 from chapter 8) "She" referred to Pearl, who is believed to be the strangest and bewitched child who represented the past sin of Hester Prynne. As Hester and Pearl departed from the house of Governor Bellingham, they saw Mistress Hibbins. This is where the second example emanates, Mistress Hibbins is Governor Bellingham's sister who was convicted and executed for being a witch. The third example still circualtes around the myths of witches and devils. “The town did not awake; or , if it did, the drowsy slumberers mis-took the cry either for something frightful in a dream, or for the noises of witches; whose voices, at that period were often heard to pass over the settlements or lonely cottages, as they rode with Satan through the air.” (Pg. 135 from Chapter 12) Often at times, because of the myths of witches, people believed that they do exist. Historical contexts influenced the way of how each person feels and thinks in the story, causing the style and structure of a piece of writing to change as well.

Another historical context that influenced the style and structure of this piece of writing is Puritanism.
When immigrants came to America, they spread Puritanism and within the text, Puritan ideas, like the idea of adultery is sinful. The first example is when Hester Prynne’s term of confinement is at an end. “Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because the rest of martydom.” (Pg. 74 from chapter 5) What she had done became a sin for the Puritans, because she had a form of extramarital sex , or nicely said, she had an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale. Poor Hester Prynne kept the unalterable secret safe deep inside her heart. Without the Puritan’s ideas and without these historical considerations, there wouldn’t be such a romantic affect in the story. The historical contexts are like obstacles, preventing Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale from living the life that they wish they could. It influenced the style of the piece of writing and twisted the story. The Puritan’s ideas and the witch trials lead to miseries, depression, sin, and guilt, but yet it gives the story a romantic affect.


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Manjot Mahil
06/17/2011 09:46

The Scarlet Letter has nature showing the depth of the story many times. Some of the details on nature are not just to help the reader visualize the setting, but to help tell the story. One example would when Hester tries to grasp the sunlight in her hands. “The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate, until her had drawn almost night enough to step into the magic circle too…As she attempted to do so, the sunshine vanished;” (Ch. 16 – A Forest Walk pg. 138-139). Even nature does not let the woman covered with sin into its pure light. Pearl tells her mother that the sunshine doesn’t love her because it is afraid of something on her bosom, which refers back to the scarlet letter. As the absolute being, nature shows the reader how sinful Hester Prynne is.
The brook too is telling its own sorrowful story while Hester Prynne and Mr. Dimmesdale are reminiscing over their lives and their sin. “And the melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened…” (Ch. 19 – The Child at the Brookside pg. 168). The brook is like a healing power. It took Hester’s and Mr. Dimmesdale’s misery and put it into its own heart, leaving Hester and Mr. Dimmesdale with hope. The brook also is telling the story of the two of them. It’s kind of like the background music in a movie. If the scene is sad the audience feels sad, but if there is melancholy music playing with it, it makes the scene even more dismal.

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yensy zetino
06/17/2011 12:26

The Scarlet Letter in many ways contributes to the Romanticism period it has nature with all of its descriptic scenes, Symbolism in the the scarlet letter she wears the whole time for her sins, and the super natural. A characteristic of the romanticism period is Emotions VS. Rationality which is clearly shown by Hester Prynne. Hester prynne stands what she believes for using her emotions. While everyone is trying to persuade her to give out the name of man who sinned with her she takes in the shame proudly and doesnt reveal the name of the man. Everyone who persuades her believes its the rational thing to do by telling her that its only justified if the man that commited the sin with her be up in the sccafold sharing the shame she has to go through. Like on page 20 when the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale spoke to her he said, "be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee on thy pedestal of shame." All the Reverend was trying to do was to rationalize with her but not even he could get the name out of her mouth.
Hester prynne uses her emotions to decide because she feels like it was her to blame for this sin. Her loneliness and sorrow is what led her to commit adultery. While she stands in the scaffold by herself holding on to the creation that was made through this crime she feels its only fair to stand alone. When everyone asks for the other sinners name she doesn't allow them to obatin this information because to her he should not be blamed for this. Like on page 21 when they plead for her to speak she responds by saying "Never!.. It's to deeply branded. ye cannottake it off. And would that i might endure his agony, as well as mine!" Not even her own husband can know his name. This is all based on what she feels is right and what the magistrate and the whole crowd believe is reasonable or rational. Hester prynne is a woman who answers with her emotions and doesn't believe in what is rational like the era of romanticism where they spoke out with their 'emotions, feelings,and insticts above everything else.' 'Unlike everyone else that focused on rationality and intellect.'

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Paige Wilson
06/17/2011 13:01

The Black Man, who was brought up multiple times throughout the novel, was basically satan. Symbolism and myth in American Romanticism was valued very much for their was not definite outcome of what is could symbolize or mean. Hester considers the Scarlet Letter, A, to be the imprint or marking of the Black Man. Pearl thinks that the Black Man may have left his imprint in Dimmesdale's heart. The narrator of the book constantly tries to portray Chillingsworth as satan as well. This questions whether or not humans re good or evil beings. The Black Man enjoys sitting in the woods and luring locals in so they can sign his book thing with their own blood. Mrs. Hibbons apparently knows the Black Man rather well.

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Yensy Zetino
06/17/2011 13:01

@ShikebMomini: I agree with your blog of the Scarlet Letter being a symbol of their sin. With the Romanticism period being a time when symbols dealt with expression it shows how back then the letter A they embroided on her bosom is a great deal of punishment. Even though for us today we see that as more of a mockery to punishment rather than a real punishment back then it symbolized her sins. For her it was a great deal of shame that she wore around every where. Since in her period mostly everyone had that same belief of being married to one person and one person only, no matter what happened. For her case it didnt even mattter that her husband was "dead" it was know that you were suppose to stay faithful until death.
The scarlet letter represented sin, adultery, and shame. She was never to take it off just so who ever came across her path could know what sinful crime she had commited. For them the expression of that A was a hard punishment already. With what you said on the words on the last page she will live on with that A reminding her everyday of her life of the sin she committed. Hester prynne will also die with that punishment embroided on her bosom.

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Savreet Kaur
06/17/2011 13:28

The "Scarlet Letter" fits the characteristics of a Romantic text due to the fact that it contains Individualism or in other terms a romantic hero. Romantics placed great emphasis on a certain individual, one that may be normal or quite unique in many manners.It can be argued that there is more than one Romantic Hero in "The Scarlet Letter", whether it be Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, or Little Pearl. There is a link that bonds the three characters towards being Romantic heroes; the amount of boldness and seclusion that each character confronts at different points of the story.


Hester Prynne, in my opinion fits the role of a Romantic hero in several different aspects. From the beginning of the novel to its end, Hester Prynne has always had a logo or symbol that marked her out as an outcast, an intruder, or an unwanted being. There was no restraint in showing the character of Hester Prynne.Every concept, every relation, every being related to or connected with her was always bold and visual to the reader. Her pain, grief, sin, and misfortune were always highlighted. The following quote exemplifies how bold her "sin" was to all townspeople. "Ah, but," interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by hand, "let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will always be in her heart(Hawthrone 5)." The author shows great emphasis on the sinful side of Hester Prynne, there is no restraint, no force to hold back.


The Romantic Hero is at times hidden under many misfortunes, and not able to be see often or in some cases, never. Just like so, the "sinful" side of Hester Prynne is always in the minds of the townspeople, but her goodness, her humanity is always overpowered by the scarlet letter that is forever stitched on her bosom. Romantics believed in the fact that the character must create the world or environment that they live in. Hester Prynne forms a sanctuary with her Little Pearl in her cottage. Despite being an outcast in everyone's eyes Hester Pyrnne is not bad at heart. "I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood(Hawthrone 67)." This quote shows the relationship that Hester has, the only one, which is with her home and her little Pearl. Despite all difficulties and trials Hester Prynne created a system of living by her own will.


The traits and methods of emphasis show how Hester Prynne is a Romantic Hero, and how her individuality is expressed in relation to a Romantic text.

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AJ Fernandez
06/17/2011 13:37

The Scarlet letter can relate to Romanticism by representing nature, emotion, & symbolism itself. They both play a big part and go into detail. My first example is symbolism the letter "A" on Hester Prynne's gown meaning adultery. "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. Pg.6" It symbolized the sinful action she has done. It also symbolizes the crime she apparently committed. The Puritans felt very disgusted and thought very wrong of Hester Prynne. Another example of Romanticism is emotion, emotion played a big part for Hester Prynne. Throughout the book she expresses her emotion. She stood up for her beliefs and never backed down. Her not telling everyone who the man was a perfect example of how she felt. She showed her emotions while everyone was trying to persuade her to tell them who the person was. My final example of Romanticism in Scarlet Letter is nature.
Nature is represented in Hester Prynne's daughter. Her name says it all, "Pearl" represented as a beautiful object. She is represented as a sin and a mistake by many but to Hester Prynne she is her pride & joy. Pearl being an innocent child being judged from her mothers past. She lived near a cottage in the outskirts of Boston. Her reminding me of a forest she is very free spirited child. She would always be compared to nature such as on Pg.121 "So the child flew away like a bird, and, making bare her small white feet, went pattering along the moist margin of the sea." Pearl in many ways was represented by nature.

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Harrison Manacsa
06/17/2011 14:18

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Raymond Lagoc
06/17/2011 14:48

Throughout the novel, The Scarlet Letter, some characters can be characterized by Individualism such as Hester Prynne, Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Although Pearl is still a little child and not mainly focused on as a sinner, she is the daughter of a person, Hester Prynne, who is shamed by all of the townspeople. Because of the burden her mother goes through, Pearl is automatically looked down upon as a product of her mother’s sins. Pearl can be related as a Romantic Hero because although she is looked down upon by most of the townspeople, she continues to be a cheerful child who has fun with the life that she is given. Because people label Pearl as a product of sin, Pearl accepts that fact and continues to stand up for herself; shown in this example, “’Child, what art thou?’ cried the mother. ‘O, I am your little Pearl! (Hawthorne 49)’”
Although Pearl doesn’t know about the wrong that her mother, Hester Prynne, has committed, she still continues to say that she is Hester Prynne’s daughter. “I am Mother’s child, and my name is Pearl! (Hawthorne 61)” This example shows that Pearl will stay loyal to her mother and that she was taught this way even though Pearl notices that the minister acts differently around her and her mother. Pearl is a Romantic Hero because her existence is proof that her mother has committed which is signified by the scarlet letter and the minister’s action of holding his hand over his heart. Despite everyone’s idea of Pearl being the daughter of Hester Prynne, she still lives a lifestyle of which she chooses and follows by herself even though she is looked down upon and is treated differently by some of the people in the novel.

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Harrison Manacsa
06/17/2011 14:52

*That was a test...

The Scarlet Letter has the characteristics of romanticism through symbolism and myth.

The scarlet letter is an obvious symbol. The garment symbolizes humiliation (among other things such as Hester's sin) because its primary job was to make aware to other people that the bearer of it committed a sin (in Hester's case she wears it for committing adultery) and the people would ignore the bearer or even mock them. Another symbol is Hester's daughter Pearl who symbolizes mockery. Pearl is a constant reminder to Hester of the sin she committed because she is the result of her sin. Pearl also has a habit of attaching her to her scarlet letter. "Dost thou know thy mother now, child? Wilt thou come across the brook, and own thy mother, now that she has her shame upon her,--now that she is sad? (Hawthorne 190)". Pearl has come to recognize her mother with her scarlet letter. This means Pearl would often make her mother despair when Pearl would bring up her habit of mentioning the scarlet letter. The purpose of the symbols is to provide a plot to the novel. The novel is centered around the scarlet letter and what it symbolizes is what affects Hester's, Pearl's, and Mr. Dimmesdale's lives.

A mythical characteristic example would be the "Black Man" who haunts the forest in "A Forest Walk". This "being in the forest" obviously does not exist but his story did provide a sort of scapegoat for Hester. The Black Man supposedly haunts their forest and carries a book with him to have people sign it with their blood and the Black Man marks their chest. This story gives Pearl the idea that the scarlet letter on her mother's chest is his doing. Hester knows that Pearl does not know the true meaning of her scarlet letter and tells Pearl that it was indeed the Black Man who did it. This example shows how a myth can go a long way in the human imagination. The myth was used as a story to be heard but at the same time a way of changing thought which is the entire idea of creating myths.

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Abigail Balingit
06/17/2011 15:00

Nature, in its most primitive form, poignantly lends itself as a pure sanctum in The Scarlet Letter. It is here in the unadulterated woods where Hester Prynne finds a place to release her inhibitions and darkest secrets. On the fateful day of Hester and Pearl’s forest walk, it becomes a stroll that unearths the hidden guilt, remorse, and hopes of two paramours. Away from their cloistered Puritan society, three pariahs in their own rights finally unite themselves as one. The impish Pearl, pious Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, and the indubitably dignified Hester Prynne freely become an idiosyncratic family under the protection of the deep forest.


Nathaniel Hawthorne meticulously describes the wood as everything the Romantic mien of nature entails“nature as a healing power, nature as a source of subject and image, nature as a refuge from the artificial constructs of civilization, including artificial language.” With nature’s ability to heal the deepest wounds, it is none the better exemplified in the atonement of sins. “Continually, indeed, as it [the brook] stole onward, the streamlet kept up a babble, kind, quiet, soothing, but melancholy, like the voice of a young child that was spending its infancy without playfulness, and knew not how to be merry among sad acquaintance and events of somber hue.” (Hawthorne 168). Carrying away the heavy burdens of sorrow, the brook permits Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale to walk into the settlement with a vitalized spring in his step. The omniscient brook acts as a priest in an act of contrition, sanctioning the happiness of the couple and purging the remorse Hester and Dimmesdale have felt for seven years.


It is in the forest where the colony’s gleaming eyes do not judge Hester and her unruly daughter at every instance of the day. Although Pearl and her mother live isolated in their cottage on the shore, the forest symbolizes more of an image of gaiety than they could dream about. Their neighbors’ scathing words do not penetrate their mindsets in the woods. In addition, Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale can relinquish the hand on his heart and evade his parishioners’ relentless praise. The glory of nature and the woods is “organic” and whole-hearted in the greatest sense of the word. Hester and Dimmesdale can forget sadistic Roger Chillingworth and bask in their own joy. “No golden light had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest. Here, seen only by his eyes, the scarlet letter need not burn into the bosom of the fallen woman! Here, seen only by her eyes, Arthur Dimmesdale, false to God and man, might be, for one moment, true!” (Hawthorne 176-177).


A heightened level of catharsis is achieved through Hester tossing away the emblem that emblazons her in infamy. When she throws away the scarlet letter on the edge of the stream, nature reveals another part of herself. “There played around her mouth, and beamed out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood.” (Hawthorne 182-183). Hawthorne utilizes nature as an offset to an emblem of freedom that strikes a cord in an individual. It is more than simple imagery, but that single refuge where the most reserved heroine can become herself in the safety of a closest friend.


Most vigorously, nature is its own holy entity that connects man and his soul. “Such was the sympathy of Naturethat wild, heathen Nature of the forest, never subjugated by human law, nor illumnined by higher truthwith the bliss of these two spirits!” (Hawthorne 183). Nature is the beacon of light that distinguishes good and evil. Additionally, the pureness of love surfaces in the most despondent of times. It is only in the repose of the forest that Hester Prynne shines scintillatingly as the loving mother and woman she is behind the shadow of iniquity that the scarlet letter enrobes her in New England civilization.


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Stephanie Milan
06/17/2011 15:48

*testing.

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Luke Kmiec
06/17/2011 18:09

The everyday and exotic element in The Scarlet Letter is evident in Hester Prynne's predicament as a whole. the fact that she is ridiculed and ostracized for her affair and that she is an elegant woman who deeply cares for her child is a paradoxical combination by itself. Another example of the exotic element in the Scarlet Letter is how Hester Prynne becomes a compassionate maternal figure despite the hostile environment around her and her daughter.

The actual scarlet letter is a huge example of symbolism. It exemplifies all of the theological ideas of the time period. The symbol of Hester Prynne's "sin" has branded her with a mark of shame that she can hardly recover from. Because this symbol of religious and ethical violation has made her "a poor sinner" (Hawthorn 18) she is now not part of the community. The scarlet letter is a symbol of Hester Prynne's personality because the letter itself is beautiful like Hester, but the letter is a mark of shame, and Hester has committed a what is seen as a shameful act.

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Luke Kmiec
06/17/2011 18:50

@Harrison Manacsa: I do not necessarily agree with your idea that the "black man" is an example of a myth so much as an example of symbolism in an evil form. The fact that Pearl says that she sees the the black man in Dimmesdale, combined with the heartlessness of Dimmesdale's character prove that the "black man" is an example of evil in the eyes of Pearl. The ideas that are purveyed to the reader are more dark than myths that I have read. Also, Pearl's insistence that Dimmesdale is the black man shows that to Pearl at least, the black man is entirely real. Not a figment of her imagination, but a physical being that is right in front of her and her mother

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Harman Basra
06/17/2011 19:20

The Scarlet Letter contains the characteristics of the theme of nature. These characteristics of nature emphasize the sin of Mr. Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne. Roger Chillingworth exemplifies these characteristics. “Since all the powers of nature call so earnestly for the confession of sin” (83). In this quote Roger is using herbs to attempt to treat Mr. Dimmesdale’s disease. Roger suspects that Mr. Dimmesdale is withholding information so he uses the herbs to relate confession of sin to his medical practice. He used this opportunity to question Mr. Dimmesdale on the sensitive topic of his sin.

Natural phenomenons also intertwine with the sinfulness of Mr. Dimmesdale. “Beheld there the appearance of an immense letter¾the letter A¾marked out in lines of dull red light” (107). When the meteor passed through the sky, its light transformed into the shape of the letter A. At this time Mr. Dimmesdale was standing, with Hester and Pearl, on the scaffold where Hester endured public humility. This situation, along with the letter A in the sky, emphasized his sinfulness. One of nature’s phenomenons had revealed Mr. Dimmesdale’s sin.

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Harrison Manacsa
06/17/2011 19:44

@Savreet Kaur: Like what Savreet said, Hester Prynne is an example of a Romantic Hero because she decided to live against the rules of having a scarlet letter with her (example of rejecting an absolute system). Hester endured so much ridicule by people because she had the scarlet letter to remind them of the sin she committed; yet she only values her opinions and the life of her daughter Pearl. She found sanctuary in raising Pearl by herself away from a large population that would invade her privacy. To her best interest Hester Prynne created her own rules, her own way of making a living, her own way of showing her emotions and unarguably her own world. Hester is able to keep calm about her unfortunate situation and keep Pearl from being a part of it. Hester changes the idea of having the scarlet letter altogether because although it is supposed to bring shame and weakness upon her, Hester briefly proclaims that the scarlet letter made her stronger and she still served her community with her charity and seamstress work despite their thoughts about her.

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Jesse Nisperos
06/17/2011 19:51

SYmbolism and myth in the scarlet letter can relate to the the scarlet letter A. the people marked with the scarlet letter were Hester Prynne and Aurther Dimmesdale. the scarlet letter is a mrk of shame and disgrace and made them an outcast to the whole town except for Aurther because nobody knew was marked withe the scarlet until he showed everyone at the end. townspeople know that if anyone was marked that they are satanic or unholy because the crime they commited.

the everday and exotic can realte to Hester beacuse throughout the book people think she is an ugly person with a demoic soul, when in actuality she is an ugly person with a beautiful soul, her passion for her daughter pearl and Hester doing charity work shows that she has a soul of an angel even though she may look unappeling to others. the only person that can see she has a beautiful is Pearl.

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Lorenzo Sison
06/17/2011 20:30

I've read that American Romanticism find the goodness and virtues in every human, but those humans are obstructed by society. An example of this would obviously be Hester Prynne, despite being alienated by the townspeople for her shameful sin, didn't seem to detest any of them for hating her for it was partially her indiscretion for committing adultery. The only hindrance that Hester faced was the embarrassment of displaying that bright, red letter "A" on her chest. This revealed to everyone that she was a woman of transgression. One person who saw the goodness in Hester Prynne was Minister Dimmesdale when he defended her, saying
"truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! God gave her the child, and gave her, too, an instinctive knowledge of its nature and requirements which no other mortal being can possess." (Hawthorne 105) I believe he stood up for her not just because Pearl is his child, but because he knows that Hester is really not what everyone thinks she is.

Another person who knows the real Hester is her illegitimate daughter, Pearl, labeled also as the "Elf-Child". She loves her mother just as much as her mother loves her. As Hester and Pearl were walking to the Governor's Hall, the Puritans' children said, "Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them." (Hawthorne 94) But before they could even pick up the mud, Pearl ran after them and chased them away.
American Romanticism additionally implies the phenomena of nature. "He took the infant in his arms, and himself, administered the draught. It soon proved its efficacy, and redeemed the leech's pledge. The moans of the little patient subsided; its convulsive tossings gradually ceased; and in a few moments, as in the custom of young childnre after relief from pain, it sank into a profound and dewy slumber." (Hawthorne 67) Roger Chillingworth, who is well-versed at alchemy from his travels, was able to formulate incredible medicine that made Pearl sleep, which is amazing considering that she's a wild child and the time period where good medicine was hard
to find.

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Parmeen Kaur
06/17/2011 21:26

"The Scarlet Letter" relates to Romanticism by symbolism and myth. The letter "A" symbolizes disgrace, a crime, a sin, and adultery. The Scarlet Letter "A" symbolizes the crime that Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale committed. "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" (Ch. 2 Pg 6). The people also saw the scarlet letter on Arthur Dimmesdale: "Most of the spectators testified to having seen, on the breast of the unhappy minister, a scarlet letter imprinted in the flesh" ( Ch. 24 Pg 213). By having the scarlet letter with them all the time it reminded them of their crime, and how shameful they are of their crime. The people have no respect for Hester at all, infact they want her to die because of her crime: "This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die" (Ch 2 Pg 5). Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale will always be remembered for the crime they committed by having the scarlet letter live forever.
A myth in "The Scarlet Letter" would be the "Black Man". The people think that an ugly "Black Man" haunts the forest and is always carrying a big heavy book with him, and an iron pin. Whenever he meets someone he offers his book and an iron pen, and he makes everyone write their names with their own blood. He then sets his mark on their bosoms. By hearing this story, Pearl thinks that the "Black Man" put the mark on her mother's chest.
These two examples, "The Scarlet Letter A" , and the "Black Man" shows symbolism and myth.

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Celia Chen
06/17/2011 21:37

@Adrian Andrade: I agree with your blog that the Scarlet Letter suggests an ironic symbol in itself. During the Romantic period, symbolism gave importance to the art of the story, it also made the story stand out. Like the rose bush that you mentioned in your blog, it symbolizes how Hester Prynne can be persistent without any support. There is a grass plot before the prison door where there is overgrown grass and vegetation that causes the surroundings to be quite unpleasant. But, on the other side of the portal, near the prison door stood a wild rose bush that it’s beauty shines upon the ugly, overgrown grass. It is quite unusual to have an elegant rose bush in the middle of an ugly edifice, but that’s what makes the art of the story stand out. The rose bush may indicate hope, it may symbolize sin as well. The Rose bush isolates itself from the wild and overgrown grass, like how Hester’s Scarlet Letter isolates her from everybody else. She may be persistent without support and isolation, but what she did is a sin and to the townspeople, she will always be isolated from them. So the Rose Bush is like Hester Prynne, isolated from all the others, but yet still shines upon them with kindness despite the fact of how others think of her.

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Abigail Balingit
06/17/2011 22:06

*My apologies on the odd box characters in my first blog post. The symbols that aren’t displayed are actually em dashes. Thank you.

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Abigail Balingit
06/17/2011 22:13

@Luke Kmiec-In accordance to your blog post, I find that there is a definite everyday and exotic correlation found in the scarlet letter itself and Hester Prynne’s lurid fate. Hester’s infidelity was an obscene concept to contemplate amongst a strict, religious Puritan society. Due to the abhorrent birth of a daughter through sin, Hester was catalogued as the ultimately malicious, incorrigible adulterer. One of the unforgiving women that discern Hester as a disgrace even goes as far as to desire her death. “This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there not law for it? Truly, there is, both in the Scripture and the statute-book. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect, thank themselves if their own wives and daughters go astray!” (Hawthorne 49). In actuality, she invariably misconstrues the full scope of Hester’s character.

Hester Prynne is not only a spectacularly thoughtful and kind human being, she understands the magnitude of her single act of passion. She bore her shame quietly on the scaffold of the pillory and gave mind to shield the identity of her lover. Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale’s prolific reputation was upheld upon her honor. Not only that, she helped her fellow townspeople when in dire need. “In all seasons of calamity, indeed, whether general or of individuals, the outcast of society had once found her place. She came, not as a guest, but as a rightful inmate, into the household that was darkened by trouble; as if its gloomy twilight were a medium in which she was entitled to hold intercourse with her fellow-creatures.” (Hawthorne 146). The repulsiveness and immorality of Hester’s affair with Dimmesdale offsets the true goodness that lies in Hester and her paramour’s heart.

Concerning motherhood and the maternal characteristics Hester possesses, you are absolutely correct. Hester’s love for Pearl is insurmountable and she had never taken that for granted. She even finds the strength to defend her right to raise her precious daughter. “God gave me the child!” cried she. “He gave her in requital of all things else, which he had taken from me. She is my happiness!-she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life!... Ye shall not take her! I will die first!” (Hawthorne 103). Hester’s undying loyalty to her little girl, God, and dignity proves that one unholy deed cannot entirely define a man or woman.

The luster and grandeur that Hester embroidered her scandalous letter ‘A’ made it an exquisite paradox to the norm of plain Puritan dress. Similar to Pearl, the scarlet letter is a beautiful emblem that is a product of both Hester and Dimmesdale’s disdainful crime of romance. It is meant to be held in repugnance, but its extravagant décor even fancies Pearl. “In the afternoon of a certain summer’s day, after Pearl grew big enough to run about, she amused herself with gathering handfuls of wild-flowers, and flinging them, one by one, at her mother’s bosom; dancing up and down, like a little elf, whenever she hit the scarlet letter.” (Hawthorne 89). Hester is condemned because of this slanderous symbol and it gradually becomes a part of herself.

Hawthorne’s imagination and masterful writing sheds light on the intricacies of an orderly New England colony. Each main character embodies a unique paradoxical combination. For instance, Roger Chillingworth is the physician that comes in the nick of time to graciously aid Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale on the outside. In truth, his innermost soul is consumed with avenging his wife’s secret lover. Romantic literature’s focus on the individual betrays the conventionality of the world. As the article states, “Romantics were also fascinated with realms of existence that were, by definition, prior to or opposed to the ordered conceptions of "objective" reason.” Misconceptions of an enigmatic physician, adulterous woman, and a sick reverend only fortify the everyday and exotic in The Scarlet Letter.

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Morgan Ducker
06/17/2011 22:59

As stated within the article, Romanticism happened to come about right around the time of several revolutions and a general feeling of radical change. The protagonist of our story, Hester Prynne, revolts against the expectations of her peers from the moment we are introduced to her. She takes the punishment that is given to her and makes it her own silent statement. The letter A that she stitches upon her gown is described as "fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom." This of course makes the town gossips seethe with barely contained outrage and disapproval. She almost seems to wear the cloth letter as a badge of honor rather than a mark of shame.

Hester also rebels against the people of the town by refusing to reveal the name of her fellow transgressor. Try as they may, neither the town magistrates nor the physician can pry the answer from her lips. She holds firm and bears the punishment alone and does so with her head held high. Her one-woman revolution is carried out with grace and dignity.

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Morgan Ducker
06/17/2011 23:08

Oop, nearly forgot to reference the page number on that quote above! It's from page 49 in the edition of the book that I have.

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Melanie De Vera
06/18/2011 00:31

The Scarlet Letter has many forms of symbolism throughout the novel. The most obvious symbolic figure is the scarlet letter, “A,” that Hester Prynne wears on her gown. While her husband was still back in Europe attending to unfinished business, she had an affair with another man. The Puritans frowned upon the shameful act that she has done. A townsperson even explained to a newcomer, “The penalty thereof death. But in their great mercy and tenderness of heart, they have doomed Mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory, and then and thereafter, for a remainder of her natural life to wear a mark upon her bosom.” (59) Hester wearing that scarlet letter everyday is more than just showing and reminding people of her sin, but also publicly humiliating her daily. Including the fact that her daughter, Pearl, also reminds those of her unforgettable deed.

This leads to another symbolic figure: Pearl. There were a few passages where it that says that Pearl is incapable of forming friendships due to her mother’s sin. “An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among the christened infants.” (85) In a way, Pearl enforces the fact that Hester is an adulterer. Since she is the offspring of an “evildoer,” others automatically think that she was evil as well. To sum it all up, both Hester and Pearl are excluded from society.

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Melanie De Vera
06/18/2011 00:43

@Parmeen Kaur: Parmeen explained the scarlet letter’s symbolism very well. Since Hester Prynne is constantly wearing the scarlet letter, everyone is reminded of her shameful crime. She goes through the haunting stares that aren’t even attempted to be hidden. They always remember her act of adultery that was committed. It is very true that she lives with title of “adulterer” due to the scarlet letter that she forever wears.

As for your interpretation of the “Black Man,” that is something I don’t agree upon your blog. Yes, he does haunt the forest, but the townspeople think that he is pure evil. He’s not just someone who lures locals into spending some time with him and writing their names in the book he carries with him. The “Black Man” is in a way seen as a satanic figure in this novel. That’s what makes him a myth. The Puritans believe that he is very much real.

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Carl Legaspi
06/18/2011 00:47

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, Puritans sees Hester Prynne as a bad example to the community. They see her as a bad example because she had committed a sin and also because of the letter "A" imprinted on her chest. Many people thought that she did many bad things that made them dislike her. This caused her to distance herself with the Puritans and live into exile with her daughter Pearl. "You must needs be a stranger in this region, friend, answered the townsman, looking curiously at the questioner and his savage companion; else you would surely have heard of Mistress Hester Prynne, and her evil doings. She hath raised a great scandal, I promise you in godly Master Dimmesdale's church." (Hawthorne 44). From this quote Hester can tell that the society didn't want her in the community anymore and wants her out of the town.

The only person that understood her the most was her only daughter, Pearl and Reverend Dimmesdale. Pearl understood what her mother was going through because she has seen what has happened to her mother and has always been with her. But I think that Reverend Dimmesdale understands Hester more than Pearl because Reverend Dimmesdale also wears the sacred letter "A" on his chest. "The sainted minister in the church! The woman of the scarlet letter in the market-place! What imagination would have been irreverent enough to surmise that the same scorching stigma was on them both?" (Hawthorne 167). I think this quote relates to the romantic in the society because even though Hester has some flaws, people are still by her side to help and guide her.
*My book is different. Chapter 1 starts on page 35*


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Andrew Gonser
06/18/2011 00:52

The Romanticism literary movement the stories were often about the individual and conquering a challenge or obstacle according to the article. Hester Prynne is definitively an individually in the sense that she is defending her actions by herself and not seeking an accomplice. She is an individual who stands up for herself and takes on her punishment like a lone wolf. The Romanticism individual is a bold person much like Hester Prynne in that she is standing up against the church and rest of the people in the village and doing what she wants to do. Hester is by definition a Romanticism individual.
After the reverend was trying to find the father of her child by asking Hester what's his name Mr. Dimmesdale murmured "She will not speak," pg.59. Mr. Dimmesdale knew that Hester Prynne was a strong individual so he thought the reverends inquisition was further pointless. Another bold move by Hester was when the clergyman was yelling at her and she stayed calm and said nothing except to try and hush her infant child. It takes a bold person to own up to her actions and not find someone else to aim the blame at. Hester Prynne displays the characteristics of a Romanticism individual in the sense that she doesn't care if your a clergyman or townsman she does what she wants to do.

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Mark Legaspi
06/18/2011 01:26

The "Scarlet Letter" fits Romanticism by having a romantic hero, in this case Hester Prynne. Hester shows many characteristic such as being a strong courageous woman and also a caring and loving person towards her daughter. Hester is a great example of a romantic hero because even thought she knows the sin she has committed she still fights for her beliefs and continues to living her life. "But, in the education of her child, the mother's enthusiasm of thought had something to wreak itself upon. Providence, in the person of this little girl, had assigned to Hester's charge the germ and blossom of womanhood, to be cherished and developed amid a host of difficulties. Everything was against her. The world has hostile. The child's own nature had something wrong in it, which continually betokened that she had been born amiss- the effluence of her mother's lawless passion- and often impelled Hester to ask, in bitterness of heart, whether it were of ill or good that the poor little creature had been born at all."(Hawthorne 117) Hester lives her life knowing that everyone looks down upon her, but she still finds courage in herself to continue to live and support her child, Pearl. This shows that she is willing to do anything just to support her daughter even thought the world seems to be agains her.

Another character that can be described as a romantic hero is Pearl. Pearl, like her mother, is a unique and strong child. She may be small but she stand up for herself and also for her mother. "She resembled, in her fierce pursuit of them, an infant pestilence- the scarlet fever, or some such half fledged angel of judgement- whose mission was to punish the sins of the rising generation. She screamed and shouted, too, with a terrific volume of sound which, doubtless, caused the hearts of the fugitives to quake within them. The victory accomplished, Pearl returned quietly to her mother, and looked up, smiling, into her face." (53) This shows that nothing stands against her and her mother. This shows that even though many things are said about her such as being the outcome of the scarlet letter she doesn't let anybody's opinion get to her.

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Morgan Ducker
06/18/2011 04:37

@Melanie De Vera I like that you brought up Pearl as an example of symbolism! the letter A on Hester's clothing is certainly a significant symbol of her "shameful crime" and of course gives the novel its title, but what better symbol of her sin than the product of that sin? She is a living, breathing reminder of the adulterous acts that Hester has committed. Had Pearl never been conceived, the whole scandal may have never seen the light of day. But because she was, she becomes the physical embodiment of Hester Prynne's evildoing in the eyes of the townspeople.

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Robin Corpuz
06/18/2011 07:16

In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, one characteristic trait that follows under the romantic text would be symbolism and myth. How symbolism is portrayed in the novel is from the scarlet letter A that Hester Prynne bears. This letter symbolizes the sin that Hester commits in the book, which was adultery. Wearing this can show what a society will look upon your actions. "This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die" (Ch. 2, pg. 49). Also, the townsfolk feel there should be more of a punishment for her. "At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead" (Ch. 2, pg. 49). Committing this sin can show dire consequences onto to the bearer.

How myth is portrayed in the novel is when Hester tells Pearl about the Black Man. Pearl says she heard the story from an old woman. "She said that a thousand and a thousand people had met him here, and had written in his book, and have his mark on them. And that ugly-tempered, old Mistress Hibbins, was one. And mother, the old dame said that this scarlet letter was the Black Man's mark on thee, and that is glows like a red flame when thou meetest him at midnight, here in the dark wood. Is it true mother?" (Ch. 16, pg. 167). Pearl was curious if Hester ever encountered this man, and she tells her that she once did. The reason is that Pearl doesn't know the real reason on why she has to wear it. Just by telling this myth to Pearl, she starts to wonder if she could ever meet this Black Man. From the scarlet letter from Hester, it can lead into Pearl's imagination or into anyone that this marking was caused by a "natural-being" and that it can lead you into believing it.



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AJ Fernandez
06/18/2011 11:49

@Robin Corpuz i totally agree on what you are saying. How myth was portrayed in the story. Pearls mother talks about the black man. Hester telling Pearl about this "myth" gives pearl great curiosity. This certainly gives a very great example on how myth occurs in the novel Scarlet Letter.

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Jonathan Appiagyei
06/18/2011 12:23

@AJ I'm not one-hundred percent sure, but I think the responses also have to be two paragraphs.

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Jonathan Appiagyei
06/18/2011 12:27

@Mrs. Stogner Sorry... *one hundred.

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Art Kelly Thomas
06/18/2011 12:40

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, "The Scarlet Letter", relates to roman charecteristic of Symbolism and Myth. Both the scarlet letter in general along with the character Hester Prynne fits into this category. For starters, the scarlet letter alone symbolizes the adulterous act Hester has committed and for her punishment is forced to wear a capital "A" embroided upon her bosom, around the Puritan village to represent her badge of shame. Through the adulterous act, Hester concieves a child. However, it is said that the scarlet letter is a mask which hides the true feelings and emotions of Hester Prynne. Therefore, not only is she to wear the scarlet letter, but what she have done is a sin. As her daughter Pearl gets older, Pearl is curious to know what does the scarlet letter actually mean and what does it symbolize. In the novel, Pearl asks: "What does the letter mean, mother? -and why dost thou wear it"? (134). This shows Pearl is questioning the significane of the scarlet letter itself and is wondering what it truly means. Meanwhile, although the adulterous act is a sin, in the novel it shows Hester is learning from her mistake through her badge of shame. Hester states: "This badge hath taught me- it daily teaches me- it is teaching me at this moment- lessons whereof my child may be the wiser and better albeit they can profit nothing to myself" (62). This quote shows that Hester is aware of what she has done, but she is learning from the badge of shame she is to wear, and wishes nothing but the best for her daughter. At the same time, Hester Prynne herself falls into the category due to the fact she committed the crime herself. She is being penalized for her own sin. Despite her struggles to create a whole new life through repentance, she is to wear the scarlet letter which is the actual focal point to the novel.

Throughout "The Scarlet Letter", there are numerous of myths, though only a few to none are true. For example, the public of the Puritan village often times misunderstand the true meaning of the scarlet letter. For instance, on page (113) when Hester became ambassador of Mercy, "The townsfolk misinterpreted the 'A' for Able; meaning so strong was Hester Prynne, with a womans strength" (113). Or on a similar occasion when a meteor marks a dull red 'A' in the night sky and once again the townsfolk is led to believe its meaning is Angle while Arthur Dimmesdale really knows it is meaning adultery. In addition, the forest involved a lot of myths. The forest provides different things to different people. But in Hester Prynne's situation, it gives her and Mr. Dimmesdale a refuge where in the forest they can be true and real with one another. Unlike their behaviors in the Puritan society.

Thus, "The Scarlet Letter's" roman characteristic is symbolism and myths. Honestly, that what most of the novel is abouut. The plot is about the meaning of the scarlet letter, followed by additional myths from the public of Boston.

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Celia Chen
06/18/2011 12:47

@ Jonathan Appiagyei and everybody else: Yes the response also has to be two paragraphs (I couldn't indent on mine, sorry)

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Art Kelly Thomas
06/18/2011 12:53

In addition to my post, I agree with both @Parmeen Kaur and @Shikeb Momini. The main symoblism in the novel would be the Scarlet Letter itself. According the description @Parmeen Kaur gave. it was very well delivered and speific. The scarlet letter did symbolize Hester's sin, guilt and crime. The townsfolk of the Puritan village despised her for her adulterous act. However, Hester tried to overcome it.

Meanwhile, @Shikeb Momini conclusion to her blog was very true. She stated that if the scarlet letter 'A' didn't symbolize anything, the book would have no point or meaning. Which is actually true. I agree, because if the book was to shy away from that aspect, "The Scarlet Letter", would be pointless. If it had no symbolism, it would just be a book about a girl named Hester Prynne.

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Diana Nuno
06/18/2011 13:42

The scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne relates to the Romanticism movement in many aspects. In England puritans were being prosecuted because of the sudden change to the Anglican Church. They could no longer practice their religion in peace. The sailed to the New World to find the peace they were looking for. As the puritans were prosecuted, so was Hester Prynne. This is a symbol of irony to novel. The people in the village accused her of being a sinful woman because she had a daughter of man that was not her husband. The towns people acted like hypocrites, as if they never committed a sin before. Hester Prynne is going through a horrible time. And her actions were wrong, but that doesn’t justify the mean, of the towns people publicly humiliating her on displace. Hester is not the only one affected, an innocent baby, “Little Pearl,” the outcome of her mother’s affair, with Arthur Dimmesdale. The villagers are also condemning Pearl as a sinner, being the daughter of the woman that beholds the scarlet letter. Pearl does not go to school with the other children in the community, because her mother is an adulteress. But, everyone is born with the original sin. This can be proved in the bible, by condemning Hester and pearl, they are also condemning themselves because the towns people are not of high authority, their god is the only one that has the right to judge who is a sinner or not. Pearl may be considered as a symbol of sin coming from the wound of adulteress, but also of intelligence. Pearl knew that there was more than just friend relationship between her mother and Arthur. Also, Pearl knew that the minister Dimmesdale cared a burden in his heart, because his hand is always on his chest. This connects to the American Romantic movement because the use of symbolism in the use of “Human aesthetic correlatives.” Another symbol would be the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom. The scarlet letter signifies loneliness and love. The result of having the scarlet letter has made Hester an outcast in society. “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer--so that both men and women who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time--was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself (ch.2 p7). The scarlet letter A symbolizes love because the reason why she got the scarlet letter was because she fell in love once again, not being a free woman. And this love leads to the birth of a baby, Pearl. Nature also plays an act in both the “Scarlet Letter” and the Romanticism movement because nature is ” --nature as a healing power, nature as a source of subject and image, nature as a refuge from the artificial constructs of civilization..” Hester being an outcast of the village, she moves to where she can be alone and at peace from the people that humiliate her. Her new home is separated from the village by thick tree, her cottage home is surrounded by nature it’s a sort of refuge to Hester from society. “Hester Prynne, therefore, did not flee. On the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west (ch5 p33).” The Romantic movement also relates to the novel because of “early Romantic period thus coincides with what is often called the "age of revolutions revolutions--an age of upheavals in political, economic, and social traditions...” Social traditions are shown in the way the village carries out the convictions to the criminals. The criminals were taken to the market and there they would begin the tribunal. “Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders, at the scaffold. On the other hand, a penalty which, in our days, would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself… This personage prefigured and represented in his aspect the whole dismal severity of the Puritanic code of law (ch2 p4-6).” Displaying the criminals on a platform for all the spectators to see was a long time tradition in the puritan village. The Scarlet letter has many obstacles that put her relationship as mother and a lover in jeopardy, this coincides to what a true romanticism is story is all abo

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Diana Nuno
06/18/2011 13:45

The scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne relates to the Romanticism movement in many aspects. In England puritans were being prosecuted because of the sudden change to the Anglican Church. They could no longer practice their religion in peace. The sailed to the New World to find the peace they were looking for. As the puritans were prosecuted, so was Hester Prynne. This is a symbol of irony to novel. The people in the village accused her of being a sinful woman because she had a daughter of man that was not her husband. The towns people acted like hypocrites, as if they never committed a sin before. Hester Prynne is going through a horrible time. And her actions were wrong, but that doesn’t justify the mean, of the towns people publicly humiliating her on displace. Hester is not the only one affected, an innocent baby, “Little Pearl,” the outcome of her mother’s affair, with Arthur Dimmesdale. The villagers are also condemning Pearl as a sinner, being the daughter of the woman that beholds the scarlet letter. Pearl does not go to school with the other children in the community, because her mother is an adulteress. But, everyone is born with the original sin. This can be proved in the bible, by condemning Hester and pearl, they are also condemning themselves because the towns people are not of high authority, their god is the only one that has the right to judge who is a sinner or not. Pearl may be considered as a symbol of sin coming from the wound of adulteress, but also of intelligence. Pearl knew that there was more than just friend relationship between her mother and Arthur. Also, Pearl knew that the minister Dimmesdale cared a burden in his heart, because his hand is always on his chest. This connects to the American Romantic movement because the use of symbolism in the use of “Human aesthetic correlatives.” Another symbol would be the scarlet letter on Hester’s bosom. The scarlet letter signifies loneliness and love. The result of having the scarlet letter has made Hester an outcast in society. “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer--so that both men and women who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time--was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself (ch.2 p7). The scarlet letter A symbolizes love because the reason why she got the scarlet letter was because she fell in love once again, not being a free woman. And this love leads to the birth of a baby, Pearl. Nature also plays an act in both the “Scarlet Letter” and the Romanticism movement because nature is ” --nature as a healing power, nature as a source of subject and image, nature as a refuge from the artificial constructs of civilization..” Hester being an outcast of the village, she moves to where she can be alone and at peace from the people that humiliate her. Her new home is separated from the village by thick tree, her cottage home is surrounded by nature it’s a sort of refuge to Hester from society. “Hester Prynne, therefore, did not flee. On the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west (ch5 p33).” The Romantic movement also relates to the novel because of “early Romantic period thus coincides with what is often called the "age of revolutions revolutions--an age of upheavals in political, economic, and social traditions...” Social traditions are shown in the way the village carries out the convictions to the criminals. The criminals were taken to the market and there they would begin the tribunal. “Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders, at the scaffold. On the other hand, a penalty which, in our days, would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself… This personage prefigured and represented in his aspect the whole dismal severity of the Puritanic code of law (ch2 p4-6).” Displaying the criminals on a platform for all the spectators to see was a long time tradition in the puritan village. The Scarlet letter has many obstacles that put her relationship as mother and a lover in jeopardy, this coincides to what a true romanticism is story is all abou

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diana Nuno
06/18/2011 13:47

sorry that i submitted my entry twice i add more but it dosen't show the rest of it.

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Diana Nuno
06/18/2011 13:49

@Manjot Mahil
I completely agree with you because the sunlight does not want to come near to Hester because of the Scarlet letter. “The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate, until her had drawn almost night enough to step into the magic circle too…As she attempted to do so, the sunshine vanished (Ch16 p 138-139).” The light can be seen has a symbol of purity and Hester with the bright red letter A resembles immoral values. That’s why the light doesn’t come near to Hester. Pearl being a young child she is innocent, the light gracefully touches her bear skin. “And the melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened…” (Ch. 19p. 168) The brook does symbolize the restoration of the heart in the way that both Hester and Arthur sorrow can be drifted away. Using context clues “And the melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery (ch19p.168).” This tells us that the brook has seen many dilemmas such as Hester and Arthur’s tragic love conflict. Also the brook can signify the separation between what is good and evil. “Leap across the brook and come to us. Thou canst leap like a younger deer (ch19 p.163)!” Pearl, symbolizing purity, is on the other side of the brook from her parents, the immoral sinners.

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Jhezmel Justiniani
06/18/2011 14:12

The Scarlet Letter contains multiple symbols that best suits the Romanticism period. One great example is the letter “A” that Hester Prynne wears on her bosom. During this period, people who had worn an “A” was considered to be an adulterer. The letter A symbols the sin and hate Hester Prynne has committed. It conveys the sin and betrayal she has put against the community and of course God. Through this letter, it conveys hidden emotions between multiple characters. The child itself stands alone as another major symbol. This here symbolizes the same message as the letter A conveys. A mistaken child created through sin and crime.
Hester Prynne herself is a romantic hero. I greatly agree with Savreet having stated she living on her own will despite all the difficulties. It’s clearly noticeable that the community despises Hester Prynne and has set up a system to punish her for all her sinful acts. As a romantic hero, it is described to be unique and bold. Hester Prynne, although not in a good manner, is unique and bold. She has committed adultery, which a very rare act and is bold enough to strive and survive through harsh conditions. One bold example that Hester Prynne conducts the characteristics of a romantic hero is the rejection of philosophy and religion. During this time period, religion was a bold factor to their community’s life style. Having a less authoritative figure, or as I should say, a “government,” many strongly worshiped God as a way for self guidance. For those of you non-Christians, according to the ten commandments, it’s a sin to commit adultery. In the bible, through prophets, God has stated he hates adultery and demands one spouse alone. Not in those same exact words, but the same message I’am trying to state. Hester Prynne has broke one of the ten commandments all humans should follow! This here truly conveys a romantic hero.

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Adrian Andrade
06/18/2011 15:29

@ Celia Chen- I do concur that the presence of historical correlations, which apply both the colonial times and the spread of Puritanism into the text, add considerably to the affect of the Romantic movement to The Scarlet Letter. The shared viewpoint of our early American history and the origins of religion in modern society bond the character of the novel to the audience. The colonial era without a doubt urged corruptible and orthodox order to frighten mankind to pursue a pious and moral life without sin and choice. Some early immoral ideas, including witchcraft and Satanism, were circulated acting as a threat to holy and political order and a prosecutable charge of offense.
Witchcraft and the presence of evil, Satan in this case, were illustrated through some characters. “ ‘Wilt thou go with us to-night? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I wellnigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one.’”(Chapter VIII: The Elf-Child and the Minister; page 108). The representative of witchcraft was Mistress Hibbins, Governor Bellingham’s sister, who had invited Hester Prynne to appear at a witch faction. Many believe that Satan was held within the mysterious Roger Chillingworth due to his knowledge of “black magic”, medicine and herbs. Another presence of evil was embodied into the “demonic” child Pearl as a result of her sinful conception. The essence of Puritanism spread vastly and quickly during this illustrated time period. Sin and immoral actions were frowned upon with a certain degree of punishment towards their actions. In accordance to Celia’s blog, Hester Prynne’s confinement was a direct result of her immoral decision to commit adultery. “What she had done became a sin for the Puritans, because she had a form of extramarital sex , or nicely said, she had an affair with Arthur Dimmesdale.” (Fourth sentence of the third paragraph). These historical context add a Romantic feel of the past, in this case the colonial era, the spread of Puritanism, and witch trials. Considering the context, The Scarlet Letter exemplifies the characteristics of a Romantic literature.

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Audreana Bigornia
06/18/2011 16:17

The Scarlet Letter has many similarities to Romanticism by having many sources of symbolism and myth. Hester Prynne in the story is a big symbol. Hester seems to be both good and evil in the people’s eyes. She is looked upon by her peers as nothing but an adulter.But looks at herself as a good person. Hester knows that everyone looks down upon her, but she still goes against what everyone thinks and continues to appreciate and support her child, Pearl. But what they don't realize is that she is slowly proving that she is a good mother by protecting her child. This shows that she is willing to do anything for her own even when everyone but herself is against her. To show everyone that she won’t back down, she wears a symbol to grab everyone’s attention. The symbol on the her bosom with the letter “A”, not only is a symbol for adultery but i believe it is alsoa symbol for her will to fight through anything that comes at her. Hester is a symbol of a strong woman, passionate in her beliefs.

@Robin Corpaz
I agree with what your saying about Pearl. It makes me wonder about what Pearl would actually think when and if she finds out about the myth that her mom tells her. Your saying makes me question what next. However, i think that it was good that Hester did tell Pearl the myth. Pearl is one of the only people not going against her and has no reason to so i would understand why she would say that.

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Stephanie Millan
06/18/2011 16:29

Everything about The Scarlet Letter declares that it is a Romantic text. But what stood out to me the most was the “Romantic Hero” trait, represented by Hester Prynne, the books protagonist. A Romantic hero “rejects absolute systems, whether of philosophy or religion, in favor of the idea that each person (and human kind collectively) must create the system by which to live” as the article states, to me this meant someone who doesn’t follow or apply to the rules set by society. A Romantic hero has to do what others don’t, they are unique whether it’s a positive or negative matter.

Hester was the perfect example, mostly in the beginning of the book. Obviously the Scarlet letter shows she is a Romantic hero, no one else has this “A” forever marked on their soul, this clearly makes her stand out, it’s a mark of shame, sin, and it stands for something horrible. Her sin of adultery makes her a Romantic hero as well, at this age of time people were much more moral based then they are today as shown in the book “The discipline of the family in those days, was far more rigid kind than now(Hawthorne 76).” Unfortunately for her what she has done is huge to her audience described “a throng of bearded men, in sad colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded..(Hawethorne 41)” basically most of Boston, Massachusetts. If you think about it if she had committed this sin in today’s society it would not have been such a big deal, so what makes her a Romantic hero is her time period that she lives in and how she simply does not care of the town people that despise her and goes on with life taking care of Pearl, it is as if she wanted to this to happen sometimes, she "preferred boldness over the preceding age's desire for restraint" as the article states. She is actually a loving mother to Pearl but this Letter on her is like the cover of a book, when the townspeople first see or hear about her all they see is the book cover. They failed to see the Romantic hero she was.

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Angelica Yabut
06/18/2011 17:09

"Symbolism and myth were given great prominence in the Romantic conception of art." as stated in the article, "Introduction to Romanticism". In this novel, there are several uses of symbolism and mythology. As stated multiple times, Hester Prynne has committed an act frowned upon by all, adultery. In early chapters her guilt and shame were already showing. "She came forth into the sunshine as if meant for no other purpose than to reveal the scarlet letter on her breast." (Hawthorne 31) The quote shows how she is sickened by herself for her misdemeanor. Her shameful act was even carried over to her daughter, Pearl. As stated in Hawthorne 45, "Pearl was a born outcast, she had no right among christened infants." Being born from a "sinner" Pearl had been isolated from society as well. There are subtle references in the novel about mythology. In Hawthorne 45, Pearl is believed to be "an imp of evil, emblem and product of sin." Her mischievous personality is personified into a mythical being.
Romantics emphasized the individualism of each character. Hester Prynne is a perfect example, when she sewed the A on her garments it was in elegant embroidery. Showing how bold she is whilst showing her talent. However, I believe Pearl to be more of a hero. She is proud to be the daughter of Hester, as shown in Hawthorne 49. Where she claimed," I am your little Pearl!" Pearl was neither ashamed nor embarrassed of her mother.

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Lacey Dacus
06/18/2011 17:14

The article "Introduction to Romanticism" has many portions that connect to the story of Hester Prynne. One being the segment titled "The Everyday and the Exotic." In the book "The Scarlet Letter" the story of hester is one of realistic fiction. The story focuses on the portion of the Romantic Era where writers talked about real life, and its problems; with a twist of mystics. One of these is that Pearl is immortal, an elf child, and is intelligent beyond her age. She questions her mother on things such as why the Scarlet Letter is on her chest, and why Minister Dimmesdale always has his hand on his heart. She asks in a manner as if she already knows the answer. "It is the great letter A. Thou hast taught me in the hornbook."...."Does thou know child, wherefore thy mother wears this letter?" "Truly do I!" answer Pearl, looking bright into her mother's face. "It's the same reason that the minister keeps his handover his heart!"(page 132) This is an exotic portion of the Romantic Era.
Another portion of this segment of the article that is adressed in the novel is realistc situarions. In the set time period it could have very well been that a girl could be an adulturer, and sentenced by the puritans to wear such a thing as the letter A across her bosom. Also the author writes in a manner in which depicts Hester as an everyday mother trying all she can to protect, love , and nurture her child. In Chapter 7 the governer finds reason that it would be best for Pearl if she was taken out of the care of her mother, and he in turn tells Hester that, "there hath been much question concerning thee, of late. The point hath been weightily discussed, whether we, that are of authority and influence, do well discharge our consciences by trusting an immortal soul, such as there is in yonder child, to the guidance of one who hath stumbled and fallen amid the pitfalls of this world."(page 61) Although this statement makes it well known that the governor doesn't want Pearl in the care of Hester, she doesn't give up the battle of keeping her only freind with her. "God gave her into my keeping," repeated Hester Prynne, raising her voice almost to a shriek. "I will not give her up!" In reality a real mother would do all she could to keep anyone from taking her child away thus connecting back to the article.

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Lacey Dacus
06/18/2011 18:03

@Audreana Bigornia I agree with your statement that Hester proves that she is a good and strong woman, by her loyalty to her child. However I disagree with the statement that all of society is against her. Reverend Dimmensdal expresses early in the novel his sence of obligation to protect Hester due to the fact that she was in his congregation. While some of his feelings are put under subjection due to his position is society he doesn't hesitate to consistently kiss Pearl on her eyebrow, and have personal conversations with Hester in the Woods. The Reverend reveals to Hester that it makes him miserable that people reverence him. He also confides in her that he feels as if everyone listenes to him, but doesn't know who he really is, because there is one manner that he is depicted,and another portion of him that he truly is. This intimiate dialogue brings them closer to one another. (page 147) The reverand and Hester Prynne are involved with one another, and want to be together, but they know that the shackles of societal acceptance keep them from achieving this; proving that Hester is not truly hated by everyone.



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David Rodriguez
06/18/2011 18:24

“The Scarlet Letter”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, fits the characteristics of Romanticism by symbolism and myth. An example of this would be the scarlet letter that is worn by Hester Prynne. The scarlet letter “A” that she wears symbolizes the sins that Hester Prynne has committed. Because she wears the scarlet letter, she has become isolated from the puritan society. Hester Prynne’s daughter, Pearl, symbolizes Hester’s sin and punishment. Pearl punishes Hester by playing with her scarlet letter, which is a constant reminder of Hester’s sin. Because of the sins that Hester has committed, her daughter Pearl is seen as “An imp of evil, emblem of product and sin” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 45). Since she is seen that way by the people of the puritan society, Pearl has become “a born outcast of the infantile world” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 45).

Pearl, however, is also symbolized as Hester Prynne’s happiness. When Hester and Pearl went to see Governor Bellingham, Hester told him “She is my happiness!—she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life!” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 63). This shows that Pearl helps her mother continue on in life. A mythical characteristic would be the “Black Man” who goes to the forest at nights. He is said to haunt the forest and carry a book with him so that people may sign it in their blood. If they do sign it, then they would get a mark branded on them. This would be a mythical characteristic because there was no such man in the novel that does this, but he was at times compared with Roger Chillingworth.

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Jhezmel Justiniani
06/18/2011 18:54

I agree with Stephanie’s blog as she states Hester Prynne being a perfect model as a romantic hero. Society has greatly changed over the decades and so as laws and regulations. During this time period, adultery during the mid-17Th century and so forth is said to be a horrifying crime. In today’s society, it is not rare to find adultery acts being committed. Having that stated, it took courage to commit such a crime and with stand all dilemmas. Everyday Hester Prynne is abused with hate and mockery. Her daughter, Pearl herself has to go through the same torture as she ages. The mother had courage and boldness to strive through such hate and sin. She still manages to support her daughter knowing the consequences they will both face in the future. Strong character traits of a romantic hero is truly exposed within Hester Prynne.

I also agree with Mark Legaspi as he states Pearl as another romantic hero. Hester Prynne and Pearl has created their “own system” in which they live by. They are alienated emotionally and physically so they decide to live isolated from the general population. According to the text, a romantic hero must create to system to live by. “Pearl was born an outcast of the infantile world. An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants. Nothing was more remarkable than the instinct, as it seemed, with which the child comprehended her loneliness; the destiny that had drawn an inviolable circle round about her; the whole peculiarity, in short, of her position in respect to other children.” (Hawthrone 85) Another text that supports Pearl being a romantic hero herself and a symbol of hate is her reaction and anger towards the neighborhood kids. “Pearl saw, and gazed intently, but never sought to make acquaintance. If spoken to, she would not speak again.If the children gathered about her, as they sometimes did, Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations, that made her mother tremble because they had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue. (Hawthrone 86) Pearl has chosen to live isolated with her own rules. According to the text, she throws rocks symbolizing the hate and her decision to live alone with her mother’s care.

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Shikeb Momini
06/18/2011 20:15

@Andrew Gonser I agree with what you said about Hester Prynne being a bold and strong individual, who stands up for herself. There are many examples of this, such as the part where Hester Prynne goes to deliver gloves to the governor, but the servant said she could not enter. “Nevertheless, I will enter, answered Hester Prynne; and the bond-servant, perhaps, judging from the decision of her air and the glittering symbol in her bosom, that she was a great lady in the land, offered no opposition” (VII. Governor’s Hall, pg.92). Hester was bold in doing this by going in when people, who would be considered above her, were there and she was told she could not enter. She also acted like she was some one important. Another example was when she stood strong while people looked down on her and spoke ill of her.

The one thing I don’t agree with is when you said Hester takes her punishment like a lone wolf because she is not alone. She has Pearl by her side and Pearl also shares Hester’s punishment, but the only difference is Pearl doesn’t take notice of it. Pearl is looked down upon and the people speak ill of her too, but she doesn’t see a punishment. Pearl is always with Hester, going through everything Hester goes through. Also Mr. Dimmesdale is by her side at the end, so instead it is more like she’s in a small wolf pack. If she really was alone and didn’t have Pearl with her I think she wouldn’t be the individual she is.

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Jonelle Mungcal
06/18/2011 21:25

The Romantic artist… The first character in The Scarlet Letter that comes to mind is, of course, Hester Prynne. She is an artist but not one who produces paintings or sculptures. She is a seamstress, but her creations could be worn by royalty. “Her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion” (pg. 69). There is no doubt that she is the most suited to this description of a Romantic artist, but as I thought more about the other main characters in The Scarlet Letter, I began to see other potential candidates for this title. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is an artist in his own right, and those who are present during his sermons can vouch for this. His words are his art and they have touched many in his community. His manner, “as many people said, affected them like an angel” (pg. 57). Pearl is also an artist. Her art is rather unconventional. It exists through her very being. Her own elvish beauty and her impish mind betrays an art form all her own. She also inherited her mother’s creativity as shown when she creates her own mermaid attire out of the forest foliage. The three involved in the crime committed that led to Hester Prynne’s condemnation are not only artists but betray qualities of a Romantic artist. The three together are meant to be seen as one unit as the story progresses, and so that is how I will talk about them. As the three meet more and more the title of “Romantic Artist” becomes more fitting.
Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Pearl all are involved in their little society. Hester has become not only a seamstress but a kind hand given to all. Reverend Dimmesdale is as his title suggests. He is a priest, but he is more than that. He is a role model for all. Pearl accompanies her mother as she goes forth in her good deeds. Their involvement in their community only went so far. They were all very private because what most rested on their souls was what could only be spoken about to each other.
The Romantic artist expresses emotions in a variety of ways, all through different art forms. Hester conveyed her emotions through the garb she dressed her Pearl in but also in the way she dressed herself. Hester’s clothing “was of the coarsest materials and the most somber hue” and Pearl’s “was distinguished by a fanciful or a fantastic ingenuity” (pg. 70). It was as if the child’s nature should not be dampened by the nature of the crime committed that brought about her being. Hester needed to clothe her daughter so because Pearl had become what Hester’s sin was. Reverend Dimmesdale expressed his greatest pain through his sermons. Although this is not easily noticed Reverend Dimmesdale himself shares thoughts of despair about how he tried to tell his congregation the truth about their beloved minister, but they almost scoffed at the idea and praised him all the more. The different means of expression and the reactions associated with them all encapsulate that of a Romantic artist. Some of the reactions led Hester and the Reverend to further retreat within themselves. Pearl is the branch of the Romantic artist shown in The Scarlet Letter that expresses her individuality most. She is, from the very beginning, a most peculiar child and has a tendency to express a wide range of emotions almost one after the other. She is not private about her emotions, as most Romantic artists are, but strangeness sets her apart from what is the norm and so makes her a part of the Romantic artist that Nathaniel Hawthorne created. The congregation’s naiveté regarding Reverend Dimmesdale’s attempted confessions makes it all the more evident how separate they are from the adultery unit. The Romantic artist portrayed in The Scarlet Letter is not just one person, and cannot be just one person because of how attached these characters are emotionally and how they all progress as a unit. This unity is what makes it possible to combine their qualities into one, without each becoming lost and all becoming muddled into one. They all retain their individuality.

My book begins on page 41.

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Jonelle Mungcal
06/18/2011 21:38

@Audreana Bigornia I agree with you in that Hester is herself a symbol and that she carries on with her life in a way that would not seem suited to a woman condemned to wear a symbol of her sins. Hester knows she is a good person, but I would also like to point out that she has many doubts about her goodness because of the way Pearl acts. “But Hester could not resolve the query, being herself in a dismal labyrinth of doubt” (page 81). Pearl is thought to be a demon child as a result of her mother’s sins. I disagree with your saying that she wears the letter “A” as an attention grabber. She wears the letter “A” as a symbol of her past transgressions. The Church has made it her punishment to wear it. It is adorned upon her bosom not only because she chooses to but because if she did not the Church might put forth a much harsher punishment upon her. I do agree with you; however, in your opinion that the letter A represents Hester’s strength.

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Lorenzo Sison
06/18/2011 21:46

@David, I somewhat agree with you that Pearl symbolizes Hester's sin, but i think that Pearl is only the outcome of that sin that she committed which made Pearl an outcast just like her mother in their society, just like you stated. Nevertheless, Pearl loves Hester even though Hester has exiled Pearl and herself, when Pearl had no wrongdoings. You said, "Pearl, however, is also symbolized as Hester Prynne's happiness." and i concur with that. Pearl is not just symbolized as Hester's happiness though, but the light of her life too. She would do anything to protect and keep Pearl by her side, which is demonstrated many times throughout the book. I have to disagree with you that "Pearl punishes her mom by playing with the scarlet letter" because I think that Hester has learned to embrace that letter by seeing the fabrication of that "A"'s true meaning, Pearl. "Nevertheless, this badge hath taught me,-it daily teaches me, -it is teaching me at this moment, -lessons whereof my child may be the wiser and better, albeit they can profit nothing to myself." (Hawthorne 102-103) This quote was when Governor Bellingham asked Hester what she can do for her daughter because he was thinking of taking Pearl away from what he saw as evil, and it shows us how she can use her scarlet letter to her advantage by teaching her and Pearl how to be a better person. And what @Mr. Gonser enumerated, Hester is an in "individual who stands up for herself, takes on her punishment like a lone wolf" and is bold. A menial letter sewed onto her garment wouldn't be enough to get her down, especially when she has a loving daughter like Pearl.

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Savreet Kaur
06/18/2011 21:57

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Savreet Kaur
06/18/2011 22:16

@Robin Corpuz I strongly agree with your statements regarding myth and symbolism. Throughout the entire novel, the scarlet letter is always highlighted and brought to higher aspects. The letter "A" that is stitched onto Hester Prynne's bosom is a perfect example of symbolism and the legend of the "Black Man" is also a fairly good example of myth taking its part in the novel.

I do believe that the scarlet letter on Hester Prynne's bosom is a symbol for the sin that she has executed, but I also feel that there is another hidden meaning. Adding to your thoughts I feel that the scarlet letter also symbolizes the alienation of Hester Pyrnne form the rest of the townspeople. It is the sole item that makes her an outcast in the eyes of all people, new to the town or old citizens. The scarlet letter also may symbolize sin, dread, regret, and penitence.

The legend of the "Black Man" is perfect for myth in the novel. This myth comes into more detail as Pearl grows and matures through the novel. In regards to the myth I would have to agree with you one hundred percent that it is a exact and definite example. The legend has been going around from one person to another, and thus it gains more mythical aspects.

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David Rodriguez
06/19/2011 01:00

@ Shikeb Momini: I agree with you when you said that the scarlet letter symbolized Hester Prynne’s punishment and sin. Because she had to wear the scarlet letter, Hester Prynne became an outcast in the puritan society. Anyone who saw the scarlet letter on Hester Prynne would immediately know that she was being punished for her sins. It is true that Pearl is a product of her mother’s sin, and that is why she is viewed as an elf-child and other things by her mother and the people of the society. I liked how you stated that Minister Dimmesdale had his own scarlet letter.
You wrote that Dimmesdale’s internal scarlet letter “burned and tortured him”. This is very true because in the story, Dimmesdale was in pain because of his “internal scarlet letter”. I liked that you blogged this because people can see difference of Hester Prynne’s and Dimmesdale’s own scarlet letter and how it affected them.

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Morgan Ducker
06/19/2011 03:04

@Lacey Dacus I agree with you on the matter of Dimmesdale being an ally, if a secret one, to Hester. I'm sure that his sympathy partly comes from his own feelings for her, but I can't help but think that a large majority of it is also because he is very grateful to her for not revealing his part in their crime of passion, as it were.

Do you think that, had Hester not possessed the proper willpower and had given up his name, he would have become an enemy to her? Or do you think that his own feelings for Hester and his conscience would have forced him to stand by her and receive his own fair share of the punishment?

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Jesus Hernandez
06/19/2011 12:39

The most obvious use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter is the letter itself. The letter represents Hester in many ways. It represents her beauty, but it also represents what, in her time, was a horrible, unforgivable, act.

Pearl, Hester's daughter, is also used as a symbol. She represents all the good that Hester has left in her life. she represents the only good thing to come out of Hester's situation, but she also a constant reminder of her sin and Hester sees her as the only retribution of the sin she has committed. Although the child may seem and act strange and inappropriately at times, Hester still loves her a great deal, and would do anything for her, as stated in the novel. "'God gave me the child!' cried she. 'He gave me her, in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!--she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too! See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin? Ye shall not take her! I will die first!' (Hawthorne 104)

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Jesus Hernandez
06/19/2011 13:11

@Robin Corpuz
I agree that Hester's act had severe consequences in her life. Though she wasn't sentenced to death or torture, she was forced to wear the scarlet letter, to show to everyone who came across her of her sin. I think that Hester's punishment was severe because of the lasting effects it had on her and Pearl, being forever branded as an evildoer and the product of an evil act itself.

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Paige Wilson
06/19/2011 14:10

@Luke Kmiec I agree with you on saying the Scarlet letter as being a Symbol as itself. Of course it is a symbol, but furthermore symbolizing her entire character as a whole, not only her sinful self. I also agree on her being branded, as if the sin will never leave her. "The scarlet letter is a symbol of Hester Prynne's personality because the letter itself is beautiful like Hester, but the letter is a mark of shame, and Hester has committed a what is seen as a shameful act" as you said, is an excellent point.

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Dominic Cirella
06/19/2011 15:55

The article states that authors of Romantic Literature can use paradox to create a complex character who is not always what he/she appears to be. “Often, both the everyday and the exotic appeared together in paradoxical combinations. The concept of the beautiful soul in an ugly body, as characterized in Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, is another variant of the paradoxical combination.” If we look at the character , Arthur Dimmsdale, (the towns minister)with “objective reason” we see one who is viewed by the people as a pure soul who is leading them down the path of righteousness. “Therefore, so far as his duties would permit, he trode in the shadowy by-paths, and thus kept himself simple and child- like; coming forth, when occasion was, with a freshness, and fragrance, and dewy purity of thought, which, as many people said, affected them like the speech of an angel.”(p.56) However, he is a man too weak and cowardly to confess his wrong doing. This mask of purity and holiness hid the turmoil in side of him. The burden of his mistakes fell on both Hester and Pearl who were then shunned by the other townspeople.

Roger Chillingsworth is another example of a paradoxical character in The Scarlet Letter. He is viewed by the people of the town as a blessing from God. “In answer to this query, a rumor gained ground, - and, however absurd, was entertained by some very sensible people,- that Heaven had wrought an absolute miracle, by transporting an eminent Doctor of Physic, from a German university, bodily through the air, and setting him down at the door of Mr. Dimmsdale's study!”(p.100) When really he was a bitter old man seeking to unleash his vengeance on a sick and dying soul (Arthur Dimmsdale). Obviously, Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a firm believer in the old saying “Don't judge a book by its cover”.

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Jaime Martinez
06/19/2011 16:26

One of the ways I find that relates Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter to Romantic text, is the symbolism. The symbolism at times could relate also to myth in the form of the scarlet "a" on Hester's attire. The letter symbolizes the puritans punishment for committing adultery in their settlement. The Scarlet letter on Hester's clothing is the sign of her sin, aswel as the baby that she has with her while standing in shame of all the townspeople being the product of this sin. The "a" also goes with myth in that the puritans believed that it could be seen From the sky, which brings a supernatural aspect to the story.

The book also deals with the nature aspect of romanticisim. Hester and Pearl lived in the forest, and in the book it says how Pearl would be more calm in the forest than in the settlement. In the article it says that Romantics saw nature as being a "refuge from the artificial constructs of civilization". This is shown in Pearls behavior how she finds refuge in the nature away from the settlement.

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Manjot Mahil
06/19/2011 16:46

@Jaime Martinez- I agree with you about the nature being their refuge. It was where mother and daughter, and even father, could take refuge. Pearl seemed more cheerful when the setting was the forest. In the town she was automatically judged as a bad little girl because of what her mother did. In response, Pearl would act mean towards the children that would make fun of her. Furthermore, the mother and the father of little Pearl seemed more at ease in the forest for many obvious reasons.

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Gabrielle Peavey
06/19/2011 16:55

Myth and symbolism was said to be very valuable in the Romantic period and I agree. The scarlet letter on Hester's bosom is an obvious but very important symbol that symbolizes not only her sin that she has committed but her beauty as well. The A shows people that everywhere she goes she is a sinner and to her it represents her mistake and because she has to wear it the rest of her life she is forced to live with her mistake always keeping it with her and never being able to forget or get away from it. It also symbolizes the beauty of her soul. The beautiful craftsmanship of the A shows her beauty within and brings it out so people can’t help but notice. Like for example on page 51 when Hester went to the Governor’s mansion because he had asked her to fringe and embroider a pair of gloves for him. Although he may not have known but Hester’s passion (her sewing) is all the good and beauty in her coming out (so he really had seen the beauty inside her) and although most people see her as a sinner with a good talent they don’t really recognize that it’s not just a talent but the beauty of her soul.

The fact that Hester kept on calling her daughter an elf or imp proves that there was a little bit of mythical contents in the novel. Pearl represents a mythical creature but also symbolizes her mother’s happiness. Even though Hester sees her Pearl as a wonderful gift, she also wonders if she really is good. So overall I think that Pearl can represents happiness and pureness but really represents her mother’s sin coming to life. So I see pearl as a kind of sinister child because of her “inappropriate” outbreaks like when Hester and Pearl was having a conversation and Hester says, “Thy Heavenly Father sent thee!” and Pear replies, “He did not send me! I have no Heavenly Father!” (Hawthome50)

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Bryan Miranda
06/19/2011 17:00

By what I have read and understood so far about this book, I see it fitting under individualism. The writer has really gone and tried to be bold by experimenting with the "rules" of composition. This can be seen when the writer creates the character "Hester Prynne" a sinner who is looked down upon by all of society and decides to change things up by giving her a daughter to take care of and raise on her own. The character "Hester" is an unlikely candidate for the title of "loving mother" as she herself is not considered a "good" person. The author is completely original with the story because she does not follow the standard composition for the genre that it is in. she is an individualist in the romanticism era. Another example of individualism is shown when the character Hester Prynne rejects systems of religion and decides to do whatever she wants by being unfaithful and by not telling people who or where the father of Pearl is.

Shikeb,

I agree with you that the A on Hester's chest does symbolize the sin and punishment that was given to her. She was forced to face shame and hatred in the eyes of other people because of the A that she had. People would generally stay away from her and they saw her daughter as an evil abomination because of her mother. Everyone in the story basically rejected Hester and her daughter and because of that, they seemed to reflect all the hatred that was upon them. They didn’t try to talk to anyone and they didn’t try to help anyone. They remained solitary and went out sparingly. They acted differently because they were treated differently. I think that in a way, Hester and Peal are like a symbol themselves for sin and harsh punishment because they were completely separated from all of society.

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Harman Basra
06/19/2011 17:04

@Jaime Martinez: I agree with you. The scarlet letter on Hester is one of the most important symbols of the novel. It constantly represents the sin she has committed. In relation to the characteristics of myth, Pearl is the living and breathing manifestation of the scarlet letter. Pearl constantly reminds Hester of her sin because in essence she is the product of her mother’s sin.

Hester viewed the forest as a sanctuary from her sin. Her home, on the outskirts of the town, was a sanctuary from the curious and judgmental townspeople. “Hester Prynne had always this dreadful agony in feeling a human eye upon the token;” (38). This quote describes Hester’s discomfort when people observed her scarlet letter. In the forest she was alone with her daughter. There she felt safe because no one judged her based on her scarlet letter.

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Manu Sandhu
06/19/2011 17:40

The Scarlet Letter fits the romanticism characteristics of symbolism and myth. The most obvious symbol is undoubtedly the Scarlet Letter A. The story begins with the "A" symbolizing adultery but by the end of the novel it has much more meaning. The "A" appears in more places than just on the chest of Hester Prynne. Pearl arranges some eel grass in the form of an A (Chapter XV:Hester and Pearl; page 132). And there is an A that is seen by spectators on Dimmesdale's chest (Chapter XXIII:The Revelation of the Scarlet Letter; pages 210-211).
The letter A has a different meaning for each character. Hester sees the letter as a symbol of humiliation. Dimmesdale sees the A as a reminder of his guilt. Pearl is very curious of the letter and sees it as a great mystery. "-a great red letter in the sky- the letter A-which we interpret to stand for Angel"(Chapter XII: The Minister's Vigil; page 110). The A that is traced out from the meteor is interpreted as "Angel" by the community who believe that Governor Winthrop had become an angel.

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Tammy Tran
06/19/2011 18:16

@ Angelica Yabut: I agree with you on how Pearl is a hero. She has stayed with her mother despite the pain and the sufferings that they had to go through due to the sin Hester has committed. This shows that she can also withstand the effects of the sin as well as her mother, proving that she is strong, even though she is just an infant. Seeing her mother having to endure and bowing her head helplessly to the townspeople's critcs, Pearl stands up for her mother, such as in this quote "But Pearl,...suddenly made a rush at the knot of her enemies and put them all to flight." (Hawethorn 58) and shows courage in being able to encounter multiple enemies. A hero has characteristics of courage and the ability to rebound from the pain and strengthen and Pearl does apply to these traits.

However, I disagree about Hester not being more of a hero. Due to the fact that she had to bear the representation of her sin,the scarlet letter, she also had to face and carry the burden of shame and sorrow that is reminded by the letter. How she has sustained to carry the pain throughout her life and how she is willing to live to repent her sin by doing charitable activies such as in this quote "None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty." (Hawethorn 112) shows the effort and struggle to get on the right path and the strength to live on. This is what sets her individualism apart from the other characters and what makes her a hero.

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Robin Corpuz
06/19/2011 18:21

@Jesus Hernandez
I agree with you of Pearl representing symbolism. Not only she's the good of what is left inside of Hester, but the sin that Hester has committed. Because of Hester's actions, she not only has a letter engraved in her bosom, but she also has to take care of Pearl too. Pearl is there for Hester to remind her of what she has done in the story.

Even though she had to live with the letter, she's grateful to have Pearl by her side. She's always acting cheerful around her and sometimes silly just to keep her happy in any situation. Without Pearl, Hester wouldn't have the mental strength to keep going.

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Parmeen Kaur
06/19/2011 18:57

@Manjot Mahil: I strongly agree with you on what you have said about nature. It was not just the people ignoring and disgusted by Hester's crime, but it was also nature. As you have described nature didn't want a woman filled wih sin who committed a huge crime in its clear and pure light. Even nature didn't respect her because of her crime.

@AJ Fernandez: I agree with you saying the letter "A" symbolizing a sin and a crime. After committing the crime that was her punishment to always have the letter "A" on her all the time. The letter "A" says everything for Hester. I also agree with you on what you have said about Hester's emotions. She let her emotions take over, and that lead to her not revealing th name of the person that also committed the crme with her. She ignored the reality if the people and let her emotions take over. She didn't want to reveal the person's name because she thought it wasn't right for her to do that. She had strong emotions that took over the reality.

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Daniel Tapia
06/19/2011 19:22

I find "Individualism" relating to The Scarlet Letter upon Hester Prynne's bosom. I say this because Hester Prynne does everything she can to support herself but more importantly her daughter, Pearl. The townspeople look at her as a different entity. These townspeople use Hester Prynne as an example of the outcome of defiance of law.

Hester Prynne gives no importance to the law by which she lives under. Deep inside herself she knows that she is needed by the community. In chapter two, page nine, the sentence reads "Knowing well her part, she ascended a flight of wooden steps, and was thus displayed to the surrounding multitude, at about the height of a man's shoulders above the street." This sentence clearly states her well knowing of her need in the town.

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Victor Trejo
06/19/2011 19:45

I think the Scarlet Letter relates to symbolism and myth by the many symbols given in the book. One symbol in the book and possibly the most important symbol would probably be the scarlet letter itself. The scarlet A upon Hester Prynne's bosom refers to the crime she has committed, which is adultery (page 7). I think it is supposed to give off the shame of a bad heart, as the symbol is above her heart.

Another symbol referring to this book is Hester's daughter, Pearl. Pearl is most likely Hester's motivation to keep her head high. When Hester is cradling her child in her arms, she is probably holding her against her chest on the side opposite side of the scarlet letter. To me this means that Pearl is balancing the shame she possesses within her soul which is shown on her breast.

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Tammy Tran
06/19/2011 19:51

@ Angelica Yabut: I agree that Pearl is a hero. She had to endure the pain and sorrow of her mother’s sin that produced her, as well as Hester herself. This shows that Pearl has the strength to take in the pain of the sadness and still go on with her life. Pearl also stands up for her mother when the townspeople’s animosity takes action. For example, the quote “But Pearl,…suddenly made a rush at the knot of her enemies and put them all to flight.” shows that Pearl is courageous for stepping up and encountering her opponents (Hawthorne 53). With strength,courage to protect herself and her only loved one, and her eccentric nature, Pearl proves herself as a hero.

However, I disagree that Hester is not more of a hero. With the representation of her sin, the scarlet letter, on her bosom, Hester carries a burden of the pain of shame and sorrow and is reminded daily of this by the letter. Despite this, she still has the strength to live on. Also, she seeks to find every opportunity to be charitable such as this quote would describe “None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty” (Hawthorne 112). Hester wants to repent for her sin and thus seeks a way she knows how to try to set herself on the path of the righteous and good. Having the ability to push herself to live on and trying to find the light from the dark, sinful labyrinth sets her apart from the other characters and makes her a hero.

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Lupita Rocha
06/19/2011 20:04

The Scarlet Letter features many paradoxical combinations, like the ones that are mentioned in the Introduction to Romanticism document. The examples that the document mentions have to do with a beautiful soul being hidden inside an ugly body (Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein), or in other words, something great that is being concealed by something that is considered unacceptable by others. One character from The Scarlet Letter that exhibits this characteristic from the Romantic period is Minister Dimmesdale. Throughout the book, we read that everyone considers him to be a very respectable person. They look up to him and think that he is a great person who never does anything wrong. This is shown in the chapter titled “The Interior of A Heart” where Dimmesdale imagines telling everyone the truth during one of his sermons. A quotation from that section is “—I, whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthly track, whereby the pilgrims that shall come after me may be guided to the regions of the blest,—I, who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children,—I, who have breathed the parting prayer over your dying friends, to whom the Amen sounded faintly from a world which they had quitted,—I, your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and a lie!” (pg 134). This is what he plans on telling everyone. He is saying that although he seems holy and great, that he is actually the opposite. He is a sinner, which is not what is expected of him.
Another paradoxical combination is the scarlet letter that Hester Prynne has to wear. The scarlet letter is meant to signify Hester’s wrongdoing and is supposed to make her feel ashamed for her actions. The opposite of this happens though, as Hester actually feels empowered by her scarlet letter sometimes. She does not let the punishment she has received get her down and tries to overcome the difficulties that come with it. As time passes, we see that some people from where she lives also try to look past the letter. Hester is never completely shunned because of what she did, as people still would come to her for help when they needed articles of clothing made or embroidered. Although the scarlet letter stands for something bad, and it does indeed affect Hester in a negative way, it also helps her try to be a better person. Much like the examples given by the document titled “Introduction to Romanticism”, something disguised as something bad can still have positive results.


@Luke Kmiec: I agree with what you say about Hester being an example of a paradoxical combination. It is true that people see her as a very bad person and a horrible influence, although she is simply a good and kindhearted woman who made a mistake. Hester is not the horrible person that people make her out to be. In the chapter titled “Hester at Her Needle”, we see how “In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs and senses than the rest of human kind.”(77-78) and “Clergymen paused in the street to address words of exhortation, that brought a crowd, with its mingled grin and frown, around the poor, sinful woman. If she entered a church, trusting to share the Sabbath smile of the Universal Father, it was often her mishap to find herself the text of the discourse. She grew to have a dread of children; for they had imbibed from their parents a vague idea of something horrible in this dreary woman, gliding silently through the town, with never any companion but one only child. Therefore, first allowing her to pass, they pursued her at a distance with shrill cries, and the utterance of a word that had no distinct purport to their own minds, but was nonetheless the less terrible to her, as proceeding from lips that babbled it unconsciously” (78-79). These quotations are examples of people from where she lived being hostile towards her and not letting her forget her sin. Although during this time Hester is trying to overcome everything by helping others by making clothing for them, they still treat her badly. Children yell things at her and people either speak badly to her or ignore her and give her repulsed looks, which is just as bad. Hester is treated as scum when she actually is not.

As a response to your feelings towards Hester’s scarlet letter, I feel that the scarlet letter that Dimmesdale carries with him has the same effect on him, although it is not seen by everyone at first like Hester’s is. Before Dimmesdale reveals the truth, he suffers from his sin, too. The scarlet letter he has engraved onto his skin hurts him both ph

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Lupita Rocha (continued)
06/19/2011 20:06

ysically and mentally. It physically hurt him because it was engraved into his chest. However, it had a bigger impact mentally, as he had to live with the knowledge of his sin every day. He even says in Chapter 23 that “He tells you, that, with all its mysterious horror, it is but the shadow of what he bears on his own breast, and that even this, his own red stigma, is no more than the type of what has seared his inmost heart!” (pg 240). This means that although the scarlet letter has hurt him physically, what it stood for hurt him more, knowing that he had done something wrong and hiding it from everyone. Dimmesdale suffered a lot from his sin even though it was not known by everyone.

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Abby Saechao
06/19/2011 20:50

The Scarlet letter fits into the Romanticism period with nature and sybolism. Nature fits in because of most of the scenes in the book. It describes little details of what's happening in the novel. An example of symbolism in the story is the red letter A that Hester Prynne wears on her gown. It is a sign of adultery and the sins she has made in her past. Another characteristic of why romanticism can relate to The Scarlet Letter is emotion. Throughout the story (that I've read so far), Hester Prynne shows nothing more but the way she feels about all the things she has done to deserve to wear the A on her gown and to be treated the way she is. She also shows emotion toward her daughter, Pearl. Pearl is represented as a beautiful object and means everything to Hester. But they believe that Pearl could possibly be a devil child of somewhat because her mother's past. Hester was very hated in town because of her sins. But Hester shows that she can stand up for what she believes in, even though everyone makes it tough on her. She's a very strong woman. She tried to prove to people that she was different from what everyone's accusing her to be. Also, another development that relates to this is individualism. Hester had no one on her side. She just had herself. And she tried everything she could possibly do to protect herself and her child. She didn't need anyone to help her make the decisions she had made in the past and present. She knew what was right for herself.

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Jaime Martinez
06/19/2011 20:54

@Dominic Cirella I agree with your paradoxical characters. Dimmsdale is a religious leader in the settlement yet what is ironic is that he himself committed a crime aswel as a sin in the church; adultery. He could be seen as a beautiful person but ugly on the inside. The beautiful being that he is like you said leading people on the path of "righteousness", and the ugly being that he committed this sinful act and is too cowardly to come forward with his secret.

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Abby Saechao
06/19/2011 21:05

@Victor Trejo I agree with you when you said that the letter A above her chest is symbolized as the crime she has commited and that it's supposed to give off the shame of a bad heart, as the symbol is above her heart. Hester Prynne did commit a crime but at the same time she was just left there with nothing.

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Daniel Tapia
06/19/2011 21:23

@Victor Trejo
I personally agree with what you are trying to say. Hester Prynne acts genuine and happy towards her daughter. The idea of Pearl being the balance of the scarlet letter got me thinking and it makes sense. The scarlet letter is a mark of shame, but Pearl is the beautiful outcome of that act of shame.

I also agree of your thought of the scarlet A being a symbol of why it is on her bosom, to show or give off the shame of a bad heart. I mean why else would it be there, we all know that it was for committing adultery, but what other explanation or definition could it show? In other thoughts, i think it may also mean that once you commit a crime, it is a mark on you forever. It is shown in remembrance of the crime you committed.

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Dominic Cirella
06/19/2011 21:23

@ Victor Trejo: I disagree with your statement that Hester's scarlet letter is supposed to “give off” her shame. I think it is there to be a constant reminder of what she did and to fill her with guilt and shame. The council did not give her the scarlet letter to help her live with her sin, they wanted to make her life as painful as possible so that she would not do it again. “The very idea of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron. There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature- whatever be the delinquencies of the individual,- no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame; as it was the essence of this punishment to do.” (Hawthorne 48) They wanted her to be shunned and to feel miserable about what she did and make an example of her so that others in the community would not commit the same act.

However, I agree that Pearl is a symbol in this novel. She represents both innocence and mischief. She has the uncanny ability to see into the souls of others and pull out their darkest secrets and expose them like the letter on her mothers chest. She is also a constant reminder of Hesters “sin”, but one that has the redeeming nature of life and love. Pearl is Hester's motivation to keep on living in a community that has ostracized her for making one mistake. “ 'I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood!” ' (Hawthorne 97)

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Candisse Griffin
06/19/2011 21:52

The Scarlet Letter relates to Romanticism in a variety of ways. One important way shown is by having a romantic hero is the novel. And this is Hester Prynne. Even though she has committed a sin she can still be shown as being a hero. She is a very strong women and has portrayed this characteristic throughout the whole novel. An example of this is how she dealt with her punishment; the scarlet letter "A" that had to be worn on her chest. She was not socailly excepted but still developed strength within herself to raise her child Pearl and stand up to the world. She was able to live on her and fought to raise her child herself. As the novel goes on she shows more characteristics of being a good person despite the sin that was committed. In the novel she says "I will not speak!" answered Hester,..."And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one!"(Hawthorne 58). This quote also shows that she is strong and passionte about herself and her believes. She utlimately knows what is right for herself as well as her child

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Sukhmanpreet Singh
06/19/2011 22:03

In "The Scarlet Letter", many themes of Romantic literature are portrayed in various manners. One aspect of Romanticism that clearly stood out to me in this novel was individualism. A character in this novel that clearly fits the definition of a Romantic hero is Pearl. As defined in the article, a Romantic hero is not necessarily a hero in a protagonist’s manner but can also be a character that portrays the individual qualities that follow romantic philosophy in a sense that the character acts unusual or eccentric. So in adhering to these guidelines, we have Pearl in “The Scarlet Letter” being portrayed as a Romantic hero and she acts unique and peculiar in both attitude and perspective.


One aspect of a Romantic hero that is exemplified by Pearl is her boldness in speech and her impulsive process of thought which she uses to manipulate others and attain her desires. One such occurrence happens when Pearl replies to Mr. Wilson’s questions regarding her existence. “Dost know thy catechism? Or art thou one of those naughty elfs or fairies whom we thought to have left behind us, with other relics of Papistry, in merry old England? I am Mother’s child, answered the scarlet vision and my name is Pearl!” (Hawthorne 61-62). This example gives Pearl’s boldness of speech and her impulsive behavior towards Mr. Wilson by directly stating to him that she is the child of her mother and not some type of mythical character that has no status of legitimacy. In portraying these qualities, Pearl adequately presents herself as an individual, romantic hero whom is direct and immediate.


Another quality of a Romantic hero that is displayed by Pearl is her ability to create a justified and contained environment. Pearl uses her bold and creative thinking and communication to cease power over thoughts of others. “I could not be sure that it was he; so strange he looked, continued the child. Else I would have run to him, and bid him kiss me now, before all the people; even as he did yonder among the dark old trees. What would the minister have said, mother? Would he have clapped his hand over his heart, and scowled on me, and bid me begone?” (Hawthorne 195). In this example, Pearl uses her assertive language to alter her mother’s thoughts and to signify that she knows the secret behind the scarlet letter and its existence. She fulfils the image of a Romantic hero by using manipulative language to contain her mother which results in regulation of her environment.

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Sheryl Ann Padre
06/19/2011 22:05

The Scarlet letter fits under the Romanticism period of nature and symbolism. In the novel, the protagonist, Hester Prynne wears a letter A as a symbol of adultery and the sins she has made. In the story, Hester is shown to be strong and independent, which explains the emotion within the novel. Regardless of all the mistakes she has made in the past, Hester still stands strong as she takes good care of herself and her child, Pearl.

In the story, I believe that Pearl is represented as the symbol of purity and innocence. Pearl is Hester's drive to continue life in a community that rejects her after the mistake she made. In my strong sense, I think that Pearl is the symbol of why Hester continues to live independent and brave.

Throughout what I have read so far, I noticed Hester's independence in taking care of herself and her child. She shows no pity in what she did. Instead, Hester Prynne continues to stay true to what she wants, leaving out all the opinions of others and going about with what she believes is better for her.

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Sheryl Ann Padre
06/19/2011 22:05

The Scarlet letter fits under the Romanticism period of nature and symbolism. In the novel, the protagonist, Hester Prynne wears a letter A as a symbol of adultery and the sins she has made. In the story, Hester is shown to be strong and independent, which explains the emotion within the novel. Regardless of all the mistakes she has made in the past, Hester still stands strong as she takes good care of herself and her child, Pearl.

In the story, I believe that Pearl is represented as the symbol of purity and innocence. Pearl is Hester's drive to continue life in a community that rejects her after the mistake she made. In my strong sense, I think that Pearl is the symbol of why Hester continues to live independent and brave.

Throughout what I have read so far, I noticed Hester's independence in taking care of herself and her child. She shows no pity in what she did. Instead, Hester Prynne continues to stay true to what she wants, leaving out all the opinions of others and going about with what she believes is better for her.

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Angelica Yabut
06/19/2011 22:16

@ Gabrielle Peavey: I agree with how you see the scarlet letter on Hester Prynne's bosom as not only a symbol for her atrocious act, but also as a mark of beauty. For me, I perceived Hester's scarlet letter to symbolize her natural beauty rather than her soul. In Hawthorne 7, it states of her ravishing looks. "The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes."

Your point had me rethinking, I concluded that the scarlet letter symbolizes both the beauty of her soul and appearance. It clearly states how much she truly cares for her daughter in Hawthorne 41 despite herself seeing Pearl as a mythical being."She named the infant 'Pearl,' as being of great price, purchased with all she had, her mother's only treasure!" That shows the beauty of her soul. Hester Prynne is beautiful both inside and out.

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Sheryl Ann Padre
06/19/2011 22:21

@Bryan Miranda

I agree with the fact that Hester is continually looked upon by society as a bad person after what she has sinned. I believe that Pearl is a symbol for innocence in the story. From my perspective, I saw Pearl as who kept Hester strong and independent, even though she herself thought that Pearl would follow through with devilish acts.

Even after all that society has said about how Hester was not at all a good person, she continues to live about her life how she wants and goes against what anyone says, living about as she feel is right for her and her child.

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Adriana Barron
06/19/2011 22:32


The characteristics of Romanticism fits The Scarlet Letter in many ways. One example would be Hester Prynne as a romantic hero. Hester fits the characteristic of individualism because she rejected religion and yet stayed strong. Despite her religious ways and promise to be faithful to her husband, she committed adultery. In the 17th century, Puritans saw this as a horrible sin and believed that Hester should be severely punished for it. Although at first she didn't necessarily favor the idea of being alienated from the rest of her community and always being looked down upon, she eventually learned to cope. Hester became a stronger and more independent person because of her sin and learned to not let the jeers of others bring her down.
Hester Prynne portrays the characteristic of individuality because she took responsibility for her actions. "Hester Prynne, therefore, did not flee,"(Chapter 5 page 74). She didn't dare reveal the truth of who the father of her child was. Hester didn't want to involve others into something that was her own burden to bear. Also, she resisted covering up the scarlet letter "A" that she was doomed to wear which shows that she held her head high. "When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter,-and none ever failed to do so,- they branded it afresh into Hester's soul; so that oftentimes, she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand," (chapter 5 page 79).

Another characteristic that fits with The Scarlet Letter is symbolism. The scarlet letter "A," of course, is the main symbolic figure in the novel. It symbolizes Hester Prynne's committed adultery. Along with this, the fact that the scarlet letter is placed on her bosom, so close to her heart, represents that inside she knows what she did was
wrong and her sin has become a part of her. It is constantly eating away at her, a "daily torture" that she must now always live with. "Over her grave, the infamy that she must carry thither would be her only monument," (chapter 5 page 73).

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Sukhmanpreet Singh
06/19/2011 22:37

@Candisse Griffin, I highly agree with your central idea that Hester Prynne is a Romantic hero in “The Scarlet Letter” for various reasons. In the novel, Hester fights and works extremely hard to make sure her daughter, Pearl, has a good childhood and eventually a modest life. She fits the heroic qualities of a Romantic hero because she hopes to attain only good for the majority and helps others in need who do not necessarily accept her assistance due to the scarlet letter on her bosom. This scarlet letter degrades and alienates Hester but she does allow that to become a hindrance in her life and perceives it to be a part of her life in which she must live by. Hester is extremely honest and good at heart but certain circumstances put her into difficult situations.


Hester intends to create a better life for Pearl than she had herself and she does not want her daughter to commit the same mistakes. She also wants to live her life although she regrets some of her decisions and anticipates her choices will affect the lifestyle of her child. Hester has a lucid idea that the townspeople are against her, and that they only look at the sin she has committed instead of all the noble actions that she has made towards her fellow citizens. Despite knowing that odds are against her, Hester Prynne creates an environment that revolves around herself, her Little Pearl, and the love that they share. Hester Prynne has a bold virtue and the conception that her past actions along with her future ones will affect the life of her daughter.

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Stephanie Millan
06/19/2011 22:37

@Aj Fernandez.

I’m amazed you caught that! I could not agree with you more that “Pearl” her name itself represents nature. I did not realize this at the time. I am still not certain if the author would do this on purpose or if it was just a coincidence, the name “Pearl” is not a common one so I am leaning more on the side that it was no coincidence.

Recognize that in nature a pearl is found in an oyster, and an oyster if not cleaned or polished is usually not the most beautiful thing because they are dirty and rough. The oyster symbolizes Hester, because that is what the townspeople see, something ugly. The oyster (Hester) is actually really beautiful, or she could be, but because of all that seaweed and dirt covering her they failed to see her and the loving mother she was, as I said earlier in my blog post. Hester created pearl, which in nature as we all know is what the oyster creates. A pearl is an amazingly gorgeous object with a radiant shine, and this shine brings beauty to the oyster.

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Adriana Barron
06/19/2011 22:38

@David Rodriquez
I agree with what you stated about Pearl symbolizing Hester's happiness. Throughout the novel, Hester refers to her child as am imp or a creature of evil, and many people would say that she represents the sin that Hester committed. I however agree that Pearl signifies much more than that. She was a mysterious child and, like any mother, Hester didn't seem to approve with everything she did, but the fact is that Pearl was her daughter. When Hester meets Dimmesdale in the forest, she explains to him "She may be strange and shy at first, but will soon learn to love thee," (chapter 19 page 190), "She is a splendid child!" (chapter 19 page 188).
Although Pearl can very much embody Hester's sin, she also has a positive aspect in which she helps and encourages her mother to be brave and continue her life.

I do not however, agree with you on the second part of your blog. The myth of the "black man" who brands people with a mark is very much true. Arthur Dimmesdale is the black man and because he committed adultery with Hester, this makes the myth valid. Although the myth exaggerates the aspect of the mark being made from blood, it embodies the details of the scarlet letter. The myth of the evil Black Man who goes to the forest and marks people with a scarlet letter A, is indeed Arthur Dimmesdale.

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Victor Trejo
06/19/2011 22:43

@Daniel Tapia- I agree with your point of individualism on Hester Prynne. It makes complete sense that the townspeople would use Hester as a bad example to teach others not make the same mistake that she did. I also support your background details on why she is an individual supporting her and her daughter as well.

Also I would like to add onto your thoughts. Personally I think that the individualism she has helps her to survive when she is sent to America. She must have been a smart and strong woman to get through the hard times alone in America. She has no assistance without her husband with her by her side.

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Manu Sandhu
06/19/2011 22:44

I thought I had put why The Scarlet Letter fits the romanticism characteristics of being a myth but apparently not.

Throughout the story there was a bit of mythical content. The majority of it involving Pearl. Since Pearl was an "imp of evil" and "had no right among christened infants" (Chapter VI: Pearl; page 45). Pearl had no friends of her age and had her own "inner world"(Chapter VI: Pearl; page 46)."The unlikeliest materials-a stick , a bunch of rags, a flower-were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world."(Chapter VI: Pearl; page 46). In her inner world it appears she did mythical things such as witchcraft.

@Daniel Tapia: I agree with your perspective on Hester Prynne. Hester had the choice to leave but decided not to. She seems to supports herself with her uncommon talent in needlework. She also has personal strength and an example would be her fighting to keep Pearl(Chapter VIII: The Elf-Child and the Minister; pages 63-65). Hester Prynne also had done good deeds such as charity ,"on wretches less miserable than herself, and who not unfrequently insulted the hand that fed them"(Chapter V: Hester at Her Needle; page 36).

Your thought of Pearl being a type of balance was quite interesting. Pearls as the jewelry are worth a high price. And the character Pearl in this story also came at a high price for Hester Prynne. The price being that Hester Prynne be marked obtain the scarlet letter.

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Candisse Griffin
06/19/2011 22:46

in*

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Raymond Lagoc
06/19/2011 22:55

@David Rodriguez
I agree with David when he says that Pearl symbolizes both Hester Prynne's sins and her happiness. Arthur Dimmesdale speaks about Hester Prynne's relationship with Pearl saying, "She recognizes, believe me, the solemn miracle which God hath wrought, in the existence of that child (Hawthorne 65)." Many people see both Hester Prynne and Pearl as some kind of mistake in their society whether it may be a product of sin or someone who has committed the sins. But at a point, Arthur Dimmesdale realizes that Pearl is there to ease the sins made by her mother by making her mother live a happier life. Pearl not only symbolizes her happiness but also her sins to a point where Hester Prynne's sins and happiness are equally matched.

Pearl was created because of the sins that Hester Prynne has committed. However, Hester also realizes the joy and happiness that Pearl brings to her life. David stated,"She is my happiness!—she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! (Hawthorne 63)." Because of this quote made by Hester Prynne, ever since Pearl was brought into her life, her life began to ease the pain that Hester was going through. Once Pearl was in Hester Prynne's life, Pearl not only brought Hester happiness, but Pearl brought Hester a way to ease the burden brought upon Hester's mistakes which makes her a symbol of Hester's happiness and sins.

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Patrick Orpilla
06/19/2011 23:02

"The Scarlet Letter" connects to the Romanticism movement in a number of ways. I believe "The Scarlet Letter" best represents the Romanticism movement through Symbolism and Myth and Hester Prynne speaks for this. Due to her mischievous acts, Hester Prynne was viewed as the bad person in her community. In the book, wearing the "A" on Hester's bosom was considered as a title doing of something wrong/bad (symbolism). So Hester was obliged as the person of shame, which created the mindset in people to stay away from her. Also because of this, people only thought she was bad. But Hester, matter of fact, was a really good person. She only wanted the best for her daughter Pearl – ( Chpt. 6 pg. 81-90).

@Stephanie Milan
I really like the fact that you included that Hester was a Romantic Hero - someone who rejects what everybody thinks. I also find Hester a romantic hero as well. She DID reject what other people thought in the beginning of the book. All she ever wanted, was the best for pearl. She knew she had the "A", but act as if she didn't. She rejected what society thought and continued on with what she wanted to do. I thought that you could have also included that Hester didn't care about what Governor Bellingham wanted for Pearl. That would have also been a great example for you to branch off of.

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Mark Legaspi
06/19/2011 23:14

@Stephanie Milan i agree when you said," Letter on her is like the cover of a book, when the townspeople first see or hear about her all they see is the book cover." When the townspeople hear the name Hester Prynne they instantly think of the crime she has committed. They immediately judge her based on the the letter "A" she is wearing on her bosom. But what they don't see is her true character. The townspeople don't see the good in her and how she is caring towards her daughter. They don't know all the struggles she is going through and the emotions running in her head. I think Hester's character is like saying "don't judge a book by its covers.

An example of this is "But the point which drew all eyes and, as it were, transfigured the wearer- so that both men and women, who had been impressed as if they beheld her for the first time- was the Scarlet Letter, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her boson."(Hawthorne 7). This shows how rapidly they see the mistake someone has committed and they immediately judge them based on the crime.

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Kiana Perez
06/19/2011 23:22

@ Gabby Peavy - I agree with you when you say that Pearl represents Hester Pryne's sin and happiness. I don't see Pearl as a sinister child, but I do agree some of her actions aren't what would be seen as sin free during that time period. For example, the quote you used, which in my version of "The Scarlet Letter" is on page 81. Hearing a child say they "have no Heavenly Father" is something the townspeople would definately look down upon.

I also agree with you saying that Hester's embroidery is a way of expressing her true self and inner beauty to the townspeople. Many people, even in modern days and times long before the time period of "The Scarlet Letter", people have been expressing themselves through various types of art. Making articles of clothing just happens to be The art Hester Pryne prefers to make.

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Dakari Finister
06/19/2011 23:29

The Scarlet Letter shows many examples of symbolism throughout the novel. An example of this is the letter "A" on Hester's bosom, which represents the adultery that Hester has committed. The letter, however, is not the only powerful symbol in the story, Pearl is another powerful symbol. Like the scarlet letter, Pearl is a result of the adultery that has been committed. From the beginning when Hester was standing on the platform in front of the crowd,Pearl was there with her along with the scarlet letter.(Page 53).
Pearl is a constant reminder of the sin her mother committed. She is always around Hester asking questions that her mother obviously does not want to answer or teasing her. Hester can not leave her daughter at home if she wants to be alone. Whether Hester likes it or not, Pearl is figuratively stuck to her like glue. This is shown when Hester is trying to secretly chat with Mr. Dimmesdale at the forest but must bring pearl along (Page 159).

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Nicollette Rayray
06/19/2011 23:32

@Savreet Kaur: I really like how you pointed out that Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne, and Little Pearl were all examples of Romantic heroes. I also feel that their relationship together as one can be known as being a "Romantic Hero" because all of them stood up for each other when needed. For example, Dimmesdale tried to object Hester’s sin, Hester refused to tell the name of Little Pearl’s father, and Little Pearl stood up for her mother when the crowd tried to force the “mystery name” out of her. Therefore, all of those individuals had an importance in each other’s lives which connects back to the text of “The Romantic Hero”.

I agree that Hester, as an individual, was considered hidden behind the "scarlet letter" yet still took care of Little Pearl despite what everyone said about them. Sometimes, the only choice that Hester had was to remain hidden or else people would constantly look down upon her. However, I'm sure you meant she was "hidden" figuratively, since no one was able to see her true self because they were unable to look passed the sinful letter on her bosom. Also, your connection of Romantics and the “world” Hester formed for her daughter was right on point. Because of the way Hester chose to raise her daughter, it showed how she has adapted a way to survive which automatically makes her a “romantic hero”.

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Tammy Tran
06/19/2011 23:33

The Scarlet Letter fits under the American Romanticism era with elements that include symbolism and myth. The first type of symbolism would be the scarlet letter that is worn by Hester Prynne. The letter represents the sin that she has committed and is a constant reminder to Hester every time she looks at it. Although Hester feels ashamed of wearing the letter, she has also been proud to wear it. The quote, “this badge hath taught me - it daily teaches me - it is teaching me at this moment - lessons whereof my child may be the wise and better.” shows that even though the badge represents a sinful side, it also has a helpful side that can prevent Pearl from getting caught in the same or similar sinful situation as Hester had been (Hawthorne 62). The scarlet letter was also a symbol that portrayed Hester’s shame openly, but it also set her free of the excruciating pain that she might have felt if she had kept her guilt and sorrow inside, like Mr. Dimmesdale did. She was free to openly show her badge and in return was free from having that guilty conscious which would slowly eat the heart.

The second symbol in The Scarlet Letter would be Pearl. Pearl was the effect of the sin that caused Hester to wear the scarlet letter of shame and thus is most similarly like the letter A. Although Pearl occasionally reminds Hester of the sin she has committed, her daughter was her only comfort and companion. She was yet another symbol to her, the pearl, since Pearl was the only treasure and the most precious item she has had which can be shown in the quote “But she named the infant ‘Pearl’, as being of great price - purchased with all she had” (Hawthorne 41).

Another element of American Romanticism that can be seen in The Scarlet Letter would be the myth of the Black Man. Since Pearl does not know where her mother’s scarlet letter came from, she assumed that there was the Black Man who would offer his book and pen to anyone where they would write their names with their blood and thus have the mark on their bosom. This shows “the desire to express the ‘inexpressible’” which in this case Pearl desires to know what the scarlet letter is which her mother did not tell her and thus asked Hester by expressing if the letter was true in a story. Even if the Black Man was not true, the myth would be passed down in order to express how the inexpressible scarlet letter appeared, thus making it a myth.

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Jonathan Appiagyei
06/19/2011 23:33

The Romantics’ view of “nature” and The Scarlet Letter go hand in hand because of the author’s more organic and lively use of it, rather than traditional, rational attributes that the Romantics strove to distance themselves from. For the author to clearly convey and adhere to the Romantic view of nature; personification was used. This literary device in combination with the author’s Romantic use of nature is one of the reasons why The Scarlet Letter could effortlessly be distinguished as a Romanic text.


The first example of this mix would be the quote said by Pearl, “And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strip of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kisses my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But, here in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him!” (Hawthorne 175). One of the purposes that Romantic “nature” served was to show the lucidity of characters’ flaws in their morality. In this quote, Pearl is referring to Reverend Dimmesdale’s constant habit of appearing as a stranger to both Pearl and Hester. In this segment of the story, the author takes the opportunity to express the severity of the Reverend’s failure to acknowledge his mistakes by personifying nature.


Nature in this novel (as Abigail implied) is seen as unbiased, honest, and powerful. Personifying nature, the way Pearl did, allows the reader to see that even the saintly and pure eyes of nature refuse to ignore Reverend Dimmesdale’s wrongdoing and are constantly watching his immoral actions. Those actions of course would be his refusal to publicly reveal his affair with Hester and to acknowledge Pearl as a product of their sin. Pearl portrays Reverend Dimmesdale as a two-faced fiend by stating the intensity of his love (she tells her mother how the brook could barely wash off his kiss) and inquiring why that love disappears in the eyes of the public. With that being said, this example adheres to the Romantics’ use of nature to reveal a character’s immoral actions by transforming the already paramount in view (with the exception of God), force of nature into a more godlike and unbiased witness.


One other scene that showed the Romantic use of nature to reveal one’s sins would be the one that occurred on page 100. In this scene, symbolism replaces personification to give a more dramatic view of nature’s capabilities. Nature’s constant effort to reveal the sin within people’s hearts is displayed when Mr. Chillingworth comes across a species of herbs unknown to him. The first characteristic of nature that reveals that sin has been committed is the black color of the herbs above the unknown grave. The second characteristic of these herbs are their flabby leaves. In Romantic times, the color black usually had a negative connotation such as death, crime, sin, etc. The flabby leaves on these herbs that were noted by Mr. Dimmesdale also reinforced this idea by showing that something in that spot was preventing those herbs from growing with life since flabby leaves in current and past times usually mean that a plant is dying. Another purpose of nature during the Romantic times was to replace religion and that temporarily came into play when Mr. Chillingworth took these visual displays into account and said, “Wherefore not; since all the powers of nature call so earnestly for the confession of a sin, that these black weeds have sprung up out of a buried heart, to make manifest an unspoken crime?” (Hawthorne 100). Although Mr. Dimmesdale (because of his deeply religious beliefs) disagrees with him by saying that only God can disclose sin; Mr. Chillingworth gives nature a spot in religion by giving it God’s ability to disclose the secrets of a man’s heart. Therefore this quote also adheres to Romanticism’s purpose of nature to serve as a religious substitute and to reveal people’s sins.


*The 2nd and 3rd examples are the same idea. I just tried to break them apart to make them look less boring.

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Amira Areja
06/19/2011 23:52

Symbolism is one of the characteristic of Romanticism that was revealed throughout the novel. The letter “A” visibly symbolizes Hester’s sin of adultery. "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" (Ch. 2 pg 6). Hester’s sin is the sin which gave the book its title and around which the action of the book revolves. Hester sees the symbol on her bosom as a sign of punishment to a shameful crime she did.
Furthermore, not only the letter “A” appears in a variety of forms and places throughout the story, but it also acquires variety of meanings. It is originally marked as adultery; the scarlet letter has different personal meanings to the various characters. To the Puritan community, it is mark of punishment and disgrace. To Hester, the “A” is a symbol of unjust humiliation. To Dimmesdale, the “A” is a piercing reminder of his own guilt. To Chillingworth, the “A” is a spur to the quest for revenge. To Pearl, the “A” is a bright and mysterious curiosity. At the very end of the novel, as a kind of summary symbol, it manifest to the scarlet letter “A” against the black background on Hester and Dimmsdale’s tombstone.

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Matt Kemnut
06/19/2011 23:53

I agree with @Patrick Orpilla on how "The Scarlet Letter" connects Romanticism movement with Symbolism and Myth. The symbolism shows that Hester Prynne was bad to the public eyes because of the shameful letter A on her breast. It shows that she committed an act of Adultery. So she is ashamed so society thinks shes a bad person but really she a good person who was only looking out for her daughter Pearl. She also shows Individualism because she isn't afraid of rejecting religion despite her religious ways and promise to be faithful to her husband, she committed adultery which is brave and heroic.

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Carl Legaspi
06/19/2011 23:55

@Parmeen Kaur: I agree on what you said about the letter "A" being one of the symbols for the book. I also agree when you said that the letter "A" symbolizes the crimes because she actually did do something bad. For Hester and Arthur Dimmesdale the letter "A" will always be with them were ever they go because they both wear have it on their chest. I agree with the symbol you chose because the letter "A" did mean that she did something bad or something wrong.

I also agree on the myth you chose because the "Black Man" actually scared people. When Hester told the Pearl that the "Black Man" put the letter "A" on her chest and Pearl believed her mom. I think that was a great choice by telling her daughter that she got the letter "A" imprinted to her chest because of him, instead of telling Pearl that she got the letter "A" because she did something horrible.

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Jonathan Appiagyei
06/19/2011 23:59

@Harman- I agree with you that a correlation between the quote you selected and Romantic “nature”. As was witnessed throughout the story; the Puritans regarded nature as a paramount “phenomenon”. Like Abigail said, nature is unbiased so what it asks for is not because of someone else’s desire, except the desire of the truth. Nature in this story was also given godlike abilities such as being able to “watch” people and see any immoral acts that they committed. With that being said, I also think that Mr. Chillingworth took advantage of this event (black herbs growing out of the unknown grave) to try and get Mr. Dimmesdale to say what he had already suspected (Mr. Dimmesdale having an affair with Hester). He made a very convincing notion that probably would’ve convinced an ordinary person due to his extensive knowledge of science. Fortunately, for Mr. Dimmsdale, he wasn’t just an ordinary person, but he was a man of deep religious faith and he was able to dismiss this as false. Although I’m very curious as to what would’ve happened if Mr. Chillingworth were his religious superior.

I too found it true, but ironic how the meteor coincided with Mr. Dimmesdale’s attempt to free himself of his sin. Although the Sexton regarded that as meaning “Angel” , I believe that it was the author’s attempt to show the reader that nature was capable too, of supernatural abilities. These examples clearly achieve the Romantic goal to provide a religious, supernatural, and moral substitute.

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brenda. amboy
06/20/2011 00:20

As most have already stated that The Scarlet Letter's most obvious characteristic of symbolism is Heater Prynne's letter "A" . It represents her sin adultery and sets as a reminder to everyone of what she has done. When she first walks to the stage everyone was shocked at how well she carried herself and how detailed she had made the letter. "Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished and even startled, to perceived how her beauty shone out and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped" (pg.51). This quote shows how she is holding herself with pride knowing she is being looked upon as if she wasn't human. This fits the romantic hero characteristics because she is strong enough to walk through the crowd and also raise her daughter pearl despite what people say.
Another example that fits is her daughter pearl who plays as a " natural" element. Her daughter is untaonted by the society who claim she is a "devil child". With what I've read so far its as if the mood of Hester Prynne is that of another example that fits this era which is "pleasures of melancholy" meaning she is fulfilled by being able to keep her sinful partner only in her heart. That gives a romantic feeling to the readers because they feel sympathy for Hester.

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Amira Areja
06/20/2011 00:48

@ David Rodriguez In the beginning of the book, Pearl is the symbol of unlawful love affair between Hester and Dimmesdale. As the story progresses, Pearl is seen as part of Hester’s sin. In Chapter 7, as Pearl becomes closely associated with the letter “A” on Hester’s bosom, she becomes the embodiment of not only Hester’s sin, but also her conscience. I have to say that Pearl perhaps is the most striking symbol that Hawthorne ever created.
Furthermore, Pearl became Hester’s happiness and the savior in her mother’s salvation. Hester learns from her shameful sin and she grew strong into accepting her punishment. “The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,--stern and wild ones,--and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.”(Ch.18 pg.155) In addition, I’d have to say that each main characters symbolizes a certain view of sin and its effects on the human heart.

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Kiana Perez
06/20/2011 00:48

A couple characteristics of Romanticism in "The Scarlet Letter" I have seen would have to be nature and symbolism. Nature is used to describe and symbolize many things, such as the story itself. On page 42 in my version of this novel, the author says, while talking about the rosebush on the threshold of the prison, "We could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of it's flowers and present it to the reader. 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 frailty and sorrow." So, as the quote has stated, the roses on the rosebush, which symbolize the story, get picked and spread to the readers as a way to spread Hester Prynne's tale.

Another example of nature and symbolism combined can be the grass-plot also mentioned in the first chapter on page 41. To me, the "unsightly vegetation" growing on this grass-plot can represet Pearl. Nathaniel Hawthorne stated on page 41 that the weeds growing in the grass-plot have "evidently found something congenial in the soil" just like Pearl was the only one to even bother seeing anything congenial in Hester Prynne for a while.

Forgive me if anything I said was kind of out there or didn't make sense. Thinking when I'm half asleep isn't something I'm very good at.

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Nicollette Rayray
06/20/2011 00:52

Personally, I feel that Hester Prynne is the most obvious Romantic Hero in the novel because she literally carries all of the characteristics that a Romantic Hero would have. In the text of the paragraph titled “Individualism: The Romantic Hero”, it stated “The Romantics asserted the importance of the individual, the unique, even the eccentric.” Hester declared her importance by remaining true to herself who she really was. On the pedestal, she was described by the narrator as a beautiful woman. “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped.( Hawthorne 46)” This is an example of the confidence that she leaked. Despite of all the humiliation that attacked her, she continued to hold her head up high and glow her natural glow, and the crowd noticed it.

She was also “Unique”, as a Romantic hero would be. Hester had the talent of a professional tailor and used it to embroider such a sinful letter which I find quite unusual since that would only highlight the symbol of her poor decision. “But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,-so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time, - was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom.(Hawthorne 46)” Since her symbol of sin brought both positive and negative attention to the crowd, she was portrayed as distinctive compared to the other prisoners.

Because Hester had chosen to isolate Pearl and herself from the town, she was forced to find a way to survive without the rest of humanity. At that time, her independence embodied a Romantic Hero as her skills with a needle produced clothes in which Pearl and her used from that moment on. Hester was indeed an “‘inspired’ creator”, which describes a Romantic Hero, since she took initiative and used her talent to the best of its ability in order to provide a shelter for her and her daughter’s bodies. “By degrees, nor very slowly, her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion.( Hawthorne 46)” It definitely takes some time and determination in order to achieve what she has done in order to have a better lifestyle.

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Kenneth San Diego
06/20/2011 01:02

An important character in this novel is Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Throughout the novel, he goes from a healthy, happy young minister to a severely sick and tormented soul. The novel tells a story of symbols and hidden meanings. She, in her decision to have a relationship with Reverend Dimmesdale, goes against the Puritan laws and moral code. In addition the prison represents Puritan society, with all of its strict social and moral rules of conduct. The rose bush symbolizes the individual, standing disobediently on their own, lively and strong, in spite of the society as a whole against them. The fear of the forest is what makes it safe. She does what she feels may be right, even though it is said to be wrong in a society of followers. In nearly everything she does, she finds pleasure. However, the forest is also a safe place. The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the thousands of merciless eyes all focused upon her and the letter "A" on her chest. Her existence came from what Puritanism believes to be “evil”. Hester demonstrates human naturalness by obeying her instinctual urges and having a relationship with Reverend Dimmesdale.

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Shawnie Gustaveson
06/20/2011 01:22

In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, romanticism has shown it's way into The story through symbolism and through a romantic hero. The most evident example of symbolism " was the scarlet letter, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom (Hawtgorne, 7)." The citizens of the Puritan town forced Hester to wear the scarlet letter "A" to symbolize her adultery, but instead the letter later symbolizes her strength. Another example is the example of symbolism is Hester's daughter, Pearl. She is the living symbol of Hester's sin.
Another essential form of romanticism is a romantic hero that can be found in the story. In the case of The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is the romantic hero. Hester is the hero of the story because no matter how much she is humiliated, she continues to live in the her town although she could have left the town and the scarlet letter behind. She could have also told the town who the farther of her illegitimate child was but she refused. Hester protected her daughter from living with another family when Pearl could have been taken away from her mother because of the adultery she committed. But because of her great strength and her selflessness, Hester, in my opinion, is continually portrayed as a romantic hero.

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Shawnie Gustaveson
06/20/2011 02:09

@Angelica Yabut
I agree with Anglica, being that Pearl has inherited the shame of her mother's adultery. Because Hester is Pearl's mother, she is known as the product of Hester's sin. That being the children have been taught to acknowledge the sin that Hester committed and that Pearl is a unholy child. Pearl even had to protect her mother and herself from being pelted with mud. And maybe if Pearl hadn't been Hester' s child, she wouldn't have been believed to be " an imp of evil, emblem and the product of sin (Hawthorne 45)," as Angelica had also quoted.

I also agree that individualism is greatly shown with Hester by her sewing skills on customizing her scarlet letter. I think that Pearl also shows her individualism by showing no embarrassment of her mother and her letter. They both also show their individuality together as mother and daughter, and the kind of relationship they have.

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Richard Pham
06/20/2011 03:41

I think Individualism: The romantic Hero fits to the book best. I think this because obviously Hester is a romantic hero. This is so by the description, "each person must create the system by which they live." in the text of the article.Hester has shown this through out the story first by not telling the crowd and Dimmesdale the name of the father and responds, "And would that endure his agony as well as mine!" (Hawthorne 21) She chose to take the full blame of her sin without even considering that it may lessen her punishment.This decision follows her throughout the book.
Another reason why Individualism would tie to Hester is when she refuses to let Pearl be taken away in chapter 8. The men tell her of the system of how to bring Pearl up right, for her to be strictly disciplined and such, but Hester refuses. She wants to go against the system and take care of Pearl herself hoping to teach Pearl to do better than she did. This also ties back to Hester "creating her own system" by making hte environment in which Pearl grows. She chooses to cherish her and give what Pearl wants to her compared to the strict home she would have went to.

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Richard Pham
06/20/2011 04:04

@Gabrielle Peavey
I agree that Symbolism ties in very well to the book. The Scarlet letter is probably the most important symbol in the book.I also sgree that Pearl is in essence the same symbol as the scarlet letter. In the book, Hester realizes this also when she says, "the scarlet letter endowed with life!". (Hawthorne 53) She also made Pearl's clothing the same color as the scarlet letter which was an indication of a link between the two.
I completely agree with the idea of Pearl being an Imp-demon-thing. She is too evil and twisted and because of the situation and her behavior, I would have no astonishment if she were. Hester sees it but at the same time still loves Pearl. In a way Pearl did do good by witholding her mother from going out with the witch lady to see the Black man in the forest (no racial), and making Hester take care of her as a priority. Overall I agree with your statement of Pearl being a "sinister" child.

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Kevin Yamayoshi
06/20/2011 05:30


The Scarlet Letter’s Romantic individualism can be identified through Arthur Dimmesdale.
Romantic individualism emphasizes the “importance of the individual”. The importance of the minister is emphasized through “bold” and “suggestive” descriptions of his characteristics and actions. An example is the quote, “The directness of this…like the speech of an angel.” (Hawthorne 19). In this description, the author points out in detail many traits of Arthur Dimmesdale, such as his melancholy eyes, apprehensiveness, and eloquence. In the quote, “He longed to speak out…pollution and a lie!” the author shows the minister’s deep thoughts of guilt with dramatic dialogue. (Hawthorne 95). In another description, the author describes the unique power of his speech. “This vocal organ was…most appropriate power.” (Hawthorne 198). These descriptions use strong expressiveness instead of an emphasis on clarity, to show the Scarlet Letter’s Romantic individualism.
Moreover, Arthur Dimmesdale also exhibits the Romantic individualism of The Scarlet Letter as a more radical literary type. He is a character that is “human," as one might recognize in the next traits. He is a minister, but a sinner. He feels guilty, but does not confess. He is an eminent minister, but stays in the lower echelons. He even takes on a spirit of impiety and temptation near the end, despite his religious eminence, and sadly, when his misery is finally lifted, he happens to die. Unlike archetype characters, "Human" characters are full of these contradictions. They make him more of a character of Romantic Individualism because real people don't act like archetypes. Real people are mixed up with emotions.

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Kevin Yamayoshi
06/20/2011 06:40

@Dominic Cirella- I wonder if we could establish Pearl as a paradoxical character? She is so whimsical, so it is hard to tell whether she is an actual demon inside. However, my reasoning is that she is a gift to Hester, at the same time a symbol of her sin. It becomes a little vague whether it is a contradiction when examining her intelligence. She is young, but intelligent. That would largely depend on one's judgement of what is a contradiction. The idea of a contradiction is just a personal opinion of what things are opposites, so that creates an ambiguity in the whole idea of paradoxical characters.

If we take the same idea to Dimmesdale and Chillingworth's contradictions, we could see the contradictions as mere illusions. For Dimmesdale, you showed that he was too weak and cowardly, but it could also be put that he was strong enough to keep repenting in misery and doing his duty as minister. With Chillingworth, you showed the paradox between who he was and how the village viewed him. Although this paradox is rather strong in that he is a devil acting as an angel, we could still forcefully resolve this by taking out social norms of justice completely.

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Morgan Ducker
06/20/2011 07:55

@Kevin Yamayoshi I definitely have to agree with you on Pearl being a paradoxical character. She is, as you said, Hester's greatest gift in life, but also the one that came at the greatest cost. Bearing the punishment for her adultery causes Hester internal grief of the worst kind on a daily basis. She feels as though the embroidered letter on her gown burns into her very heart, a wound that never heals. But from this pain she receives Pearl, a shining light in Hester's grim existence. Yet, as it is hinted so many times in the novel, Pearl's playful nature sometimes takes on more wicked qualities. Some of her actions actually cost Hester the most pain.

Personally, I don't see her as a demon child, merely someone who is intelligent beyond her years and outcast from society. Those never seem to be good combinations, looking back on geniuses through the ages. Do you see her as more demonic or angelic? I would actually really like to know what you think on this particular aspect of the book.

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Candisse Griffin
06/20/2011 08:48

@Shawnie Gustaveson I agree with you that the scarlet letter worn on her bosom does not so just show the sin she has committed but also the strength that she has found to move on in life and raise her child. She could of told who sinned with her and may have recieved a lessen punishment but she didn't. She was brave enough to stick to what she believes in, despite the outcome of it.

The Scarlet letter isolated both Hester and Pearl from the rest of the town but her strength is still shown within her to raise her daughter regardless of how others felt. She didn't want her child to make the same mistakes as she has. Hester's strentgh carries her throughout the whole novel.

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Sean Visperas
06/20/2011 11:21

The Scarlet Letter contributes to the Romanticism text in many ways. I feel that this novel fits the characteristics of individualism and symbolism. In the novel, Hester Prynne relates to Individualism by living and making decisions with her emotions instead of following society's status quo. For example, as Hester Prynne is serving her punishment on the scaffold, Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale interegates her trying to discover who persuaded her to commit adultery, but she doesnt answer. Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, who represents society's mindset at the time, believes that it's just to have the name of the fellow-sinner so that he may also stand in shame. "Be not silent from any mistaken pity or tenderness for him; for, believe me,Hester, though he were to step down from a high place and stand there besides thee on the pedestal of shame, YET BETTER WERE IT SO, than to hide a guilty heart through life.(page 20) But, hester Prynne has a different mindset based off her emotions. She doesn't answer because she feels as if she was the only one to blame of this crime.

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Sean Visperas
06/20/2011 11:44

@Candisse Griffin:
I completely agree with you that Hester Prynne portrayed the characteristic of a Romantic Hero.Throughout the novel she showed this. She had all the characteristics of a romantic hero. Even though she committed adultery she was able to raise her daughter Pearl. She didn't care what the world thought of her and pearl Like most if not all parents, all she wanted was to ensure that Pearl had a better life than she did. I found that Hester did have the strength you talk about.

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Brenda Amboy
06/20/2011 12:34

@Candisse Griffin I agree with you too on how you said she is a romantic hero, and how she wanted whats best for her daughter Pearl. Its as if she used a motherly instict in order to protect her daughter from their society. She does portray herself as a strong person. I also think that with her being able to live with her secret she's trying to prove to society that if she can look past her sin they should be able too.

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Brenda Amboy
06/20/2011 12:43

@Shawnie Gustaveson I didnt really think about the letter symbolizing her strength, you made me look at it from a different persepctive. With that said i kind of see it as her differences are what made her live above what other people say in order to keep her and her daughters lives in order. The "secrecy" of her life seemed to help her be a stronger person.

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Gabrielle Peavey
06/20/2011 13:10

@Richard Pham I do agree that Hester can be seen as a romantic hero in the book, because throughout the book she does endure what people do to her and how they look at her without her even thinking that with one name it could lessen the pain and embarrassment her and her daughter go through. I think this shows her stregnth because she chooses to go through this punishment alone.

I also agree how it ties into the part where they try to take her daughter away. She not only shows strength here but faith too. Faith that she can show her daughter to be good and never think twice about making the same mistake she did. i didn't really think that Hester was trying to ignore the "system" though, i thought it was more of a "she knows whats best for her daughter" type of thing.

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06/20/2011 14:07

The Scarlet Letter shows romanticism by using elements such as individualism and symbolism. Romanticism is also seen through the personality of the romantic hero. The character who portrays these qualities the strongest is Hester Prynne.
Throughout the story Hester Prynne is alone raising a child. She is kind of shut off from the rest of society because of a decision she made to commmit adultry. Having to deal with the negelct from society and the hardship of being a single mother makes Hester an individual. It also makes her independent because she doesnt depend on people to help her through life with a child. She deals withit on her own. She also shows individualism by enduring all the thoughts and cruel words from others. Hester ,in a way, accepts being humiliated but, it makes her stronger.
Hester's embrodered "A" is an example of symbolism. Not only does it symbolize the crime which she committed, but it also symbolizes her strength. When she is presented the "A" it says, " But the point which drew all eyes and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,-so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time,-was the Scarlet Letter, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relatinships with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself." (page 51) This is the beginnnig point where Hester becomes secluded from society or humanity. But through all of this her strength shines the brightest because she doesnt let what other people say or think influence her life decisions. The only thing she lets control her life is her child and whats best for her.

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06/20/2011 14:16

@Gabrielle Peavey I do agreee with the way you described your view on how Hester is an example of symbolism. her beauty is a good trait that could be portrayed by the "A" emblem. The way you eplained how the two connect made perfect sense.

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Sherilyn Lozano
06/20/2011 15:17

The scarlet letter has many Romantic qualities. On a bold note, Hester is a romantic hero. She stands out from the crowd in multiple ways. She is beautiful incomparably to the women of her time. She is also different from the rest of society by committing a most intolerable disgusting sin that sullied the town's purity. Because of this, the magistrates decided for her to bear an "A" on her clothes. Forced out by society, Hester will now always be an outsider for her sin. She is a lone individual. As she bears this "A", seemingly confident, she has sewn it on with artistic creativity which makes it seem more of a fashion statement than a punishment; “but did ever a woman, before this brazen hussy, contrive such a way of showing it! Why, gossips, what is it but to laugh in the faces of our godly magistrates, and make a pride out of what they, worthy gentlemen, meant for a punishment?” (Chapter I: The Prison-Door; page 49).

I felt that the symbolism in this book was quite evident. There were many things. For example, Hester doesn't completely accept her fate in reality at first, but clearly as she is holding the baby, pearl is there to show that this is real. This is really happening to her. Although romantically pertaining to nature, alive within the dead gloomy prison lay a wild rosebush. This bush could symbolize Hester; as in her fragile beauty in the middle of all the negativity and also hope for her and pearl as they continue to live, the rose bush continues to surprising surpass and live. This rosebush might also fall in the category of "The Everyday and Exotic" because this rosebush's ability to overcome the chances of surviving the harsh environment, it leads us to assume some sort of immortality, a little magic within this everyday life.

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Andrew Gonser
06/20/2011 15:32

@Victor Trejo. I do agree that the letter A is a symbol of her heart. She hides the letter often in shame from her Pearl when she touches it(pg.80). I believe the letter has become apart of Hester Prynne in a way that it is like a scar or brand on her naked flesh. Hester has to bare this cross all of her life and therefore she has made it apart of herself. The symbol of the letter A also symbolizes the sinful nature of humans and Hester is shown as an example of sinful nature to the public.

I also agree that Pearl is defiantly Hester's motivation to push forward in life. Pearl is everything in the world to Hester. Hester Prynne gave up everything to have this child even defy God (pg.74). Pearl is the only thing Hester has and Hester acts like Pearl is a gift from God. Pearl is also the symbol of the "product of sin" and Pearl is also a reminder of Hester's sinful doings.

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deliah tucker
06/20/2011 17:00

The Scarlet Letter fits all of the characteristics of the Romantic period in a lot of different ways, but the one that I choose that fits it the best is Symbolism and Myth. One of the symbols that is most prominent is the Scarlet Letter "A" that is embroidered on Hester Prynne's bosom. This letter symbolizes adultery which is a a sin that she has committed and has to wear for the rest of her life as a punishment. Another symbol is Pearl herself because she is the result of her mother's sins, and she probably always will be looked down upon. Also, when Hester was standing on the platform and she seen her husband, and he slowly and calmly raised his finger and laid it on his lips.(pg.57) I think that that was a sign or (symbol) to tell her to not tell anyone that he was there. He didnt want anyone to recognize him. And also the "Black Man" that the people refer to, that he haunts the forest or whatever, I think he symbolizes some kind of evil spirit or something.

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deliah tucker
06/20/2011 17:08

@candisse griffin, yea i agree with what youre saying. Hester Prynne was a Romantic Hero because she had the courage to still care for her baby evenn though she was being looked down upon. She is very independent, and strong.

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Sherilyn Lozano
06/20/2011 17:29

@Sheryl Ann Padre you said "In the story, I believe that Pearl is represented as the symbol of purity and innocence. Pearl is Hester's drive to continue life in a community that rejects her after the mistake she made. In my strong sense, I think that Pearl is the symbol of why Hester continues to live independent and brave." I completely agree. I also think it is rather ironic, Pearl. She was born through sin, but is pure. She is the evidence of a guilty charge but is innocent. Also, yet, within all the negativity she is a seemingly happy child, like a romantic hero.

I think that both women are obviously romantic heroes, and they can both be symbolized as the rose bush.together and through each other, they survive the harsh society.they both attain admirable traits and are very strong. Pearl is not ashamed of her mother and Hester faces her problems head on. they both ten to lead their own lives the way they choose and do not follow the crowd.

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Gerardo Gonzalez
06/20/2011 20:01

The narrator uses symbolism and realism whenever describing scenery throughout The Scarlet Letter. Through careful usage of image sensitive vocabulary, the narrator accomplishes a "Romantic" setting. This can be more comprehensively defined as a "Romantic paradigm", which the narrator uses to create realistic yet heavily symbolic text (Recent Developments). For example, the prison in the beginning of the story, along with the aesthetically contrasting grass-plot and rose-bush that surround it, create such a paradigm. It is vital to note that this paradigm can only function as such because of the narrator's specific illustration of the prison.

Going more into depth with this example, the prison is depicted as "marked with weather-stains and other indications of age" (Hawthorne 41). This remark would normally be typecast as a typical adjective used to realistically enhance an image, nothing more. The twist comes when the grass-plot in front of the jail and the rose-bush located to its side are described. The grass-plot comes off as "overgrown with burdock, pig-weed, apple-peru, and unsightly vegetation" (Hawthorne 41) while the rose-bush is seen as wild, with delicate gems, and basically the embodiment of beauty (Hawthorne 41). Anyone with a hint of Romantic influence would immediately begin to question this contrast.It is this extensive use of realism and symbolism, not only in this example but throughout the novel, that reflects the Romantic aspect of this novel.

The "Romantic paradigm" ends up being the plain, "realistic" prison itself. This paradigm is open for interpretation, and I view the prison as deteriorating because of Hester Pyrnne's unmerited punishment. The rose-bush could possibly hint as a symbol of hope in this entire dilemma, but for me it's more about the potential of the prison, or maybe what it once was.

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Gerardo Gonzalez
06/20/2011 20:46

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Candisse Griffin
06/20/2011 21:12

Sorry I didn't read the requirements at first. The Scarlet Letter relates to Romanticism in a variety of ways. One important way shown is by having a romantic hero in the novel. And this is Hester Prynne. Even though she has committed a sin she can still be shown as being a hero. She is a very strong women and has portrayed this characteristic throughout the whole novel. An example of this is how she dealt with her punishment; the scarlet letter "A" that had to be worn on her chest. She was not socailly excepted but still developed strength within herself to raise her child Pearl and stand up to the world. She was able to live on her and fought to raise her child herself. As the novel goes on she shows more characteristics of being a good person despite the sin that was committed. In the novel she says "I will not speak!" answered Hester,..."And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one!"(Hawthorne 58). This quote also shows that she is strong and passionte about herself and her believes. She utlimately knows what is right for herself as well as her child.

Another example is that the reader can understand Hester emotionally. She expresses herself in many different ways and doesn't let anyone set her back. In the novel Hester was courageous enough to put a smile on her face when she was on the scaffold. No matter how much the crowd tried to torment her she was able to mentally stay strong for her as well as Pearl. "By degrees, nor very slowly, her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion" (Hawthorne 69). Hester was also able to express herself through her needle work. As time goes by the reader can see that she is a good person. A hero isn't always someone who is the "good-guy", some of the mistakes made in life can change a preson's thinking and behavior.

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Candisse Griffin
06/20/2011 21:31

@Raymond Lagoc I also agree with you that Pearl can also be looked upon as a romantic hero. It doesn't matter how people look down on her mother or how they treat her for the sin she has committed she still loves her for who she is. As Pearl gets older she will probably realize what her mother did but will still see her as the same loving mother as she did as child.

Personally I see Pearl as a person who is outspoken and will always be passionate about what she feels. By being raised by Hester she will develop the qualities of strentgh and bravery. She has came into this world innocent but yet she is still described as the devil because she has come to life by a sinful event. Even though she isn't excepted by other children she is still a happy and cheerful child.

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Alexcia Sanchez
06/20/2011 21:44

The Scarlet Letter is an example of romanticism due to the fact that Hester Prynne has to deal with the consequences of her sins. Romanticism is about emotions such as horror and terror which Hester displays because of what she had to go through. Hester is made to wear the letter "A" on her bosom for the rest of her life. Then she is made to stand in front of a crowd for several hours showing off her letter (Hawthorne). While she was in front of everybody she seemed very strong, but on the inside she is ready to break down and cry. "But, under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure, she felt, at moments, as if she must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs, and cast herself from the scaffold down upon the ground, or else go mad at once (Hawthorne)." This quote explains what she is feeling that nobody knows.
Hester has another fear; she is afraid that her daughter Pearl would turn into something bad when she grows up. Though, Pearl seems like a little saint and perfect, there is something about her that makes her seem not human. "But Pearl’s laugh, when she was caught, though full of merriment and music, made her mother more doubtful than before (Hawthorne 103)." During those days, it was believed that when a child is born from a sinner, the child is born as an evil sprite (Hawthorne 103). Hester would watch Pearl everyday in fear that something evil would sprout out of her one day. Hester Prynne represents romanticism in the emotion characteristic.

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Alexcia Sanchez
06/20/2011 21:51

* (Hawthorne 44)
* (Hawthorne 71)

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Alexcia Sanchez
06/20/2011 22:08

@Stephanie Millan: I agree with your statement that Hester Prynne was a romantic hero. The fact that she moves on with her life after everything that she had to go through for her unlawful sins. She didn't try and hide away from everybody after she was released from prison, but she stayed in that town and raised her child. Any other person would have tried to runaway from their problems, but Hester decided to stay and continue living her life like she would have before.
Hester is truly a romantic hero. She embraced her new life she would have to live and moved on. She didn't hide her child from the world, but took her everywhere she went. Hester faced the facts that this would be her new life.

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Kenneth San Diego
06/20/2011 22:53

@Niki Rayray
I agree with you. Hester is a strong and independant woman. She moves on with her daily life even though she has to go through so much trouble such as being stared upon because of her sins. She was basically an outcast, but still faced all the obstacles.

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Gerardo Gonzalez
06/20/2011 23:20

@Dominic Cirella- The use of paradoxical characters in this novel really is evident. This Romantic aspect is clearly present in the character of Arthur Dimmsdale and Roger Chillingsworth. The passage you have used as a reference also says "Romantics were also fascinated with realms of existence that were, by definition, prior to or opposed to the ordered conceptions of 'objective' reason" (The Everyday and The Exotic). The idea of character paradoxes, established by the Romantics, fundamentally came from their wanting to analyze their surroundings from a subjective, rather than objective, point of view. Using this idea I would like to add on your comment about Romantic paradox found in this novel.

You have already stated the most eminent examples of paradox that are present in this novel. Your two examples were characters but paradoxes can also be found through different types of means that don't necessarily have to be characters. The most common example would be the infamous scarlet letter "A". Objectively it is no more than a piece of cloth, but for the subjective townspeople it is a symbol of "ignominy" that they can't help but stare at in wonder because of how unsuitably it has been designed by it's maker. This can also be considered a Romantic paradox, a symbol of hostility glamorously projected, a "hanging" contradiction.

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Jazzmen Blackwell
06/20/2011 23:59

Romanticism is a movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual. In the Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne is portrayed as the Romantic in several aspects of the story. Hester understands the consequences of her actions and takes full responsibility of her actions. Hester prynne stands what she believes for using her emotions. Some romanticism ideas he incorporates are those of heroic
characters which would include Hester Prynne "It had the effect of a spell,
taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself. A heroic character is "bigger than those found in
ordinary life" and also is strong, brave, noble, risky and powerful.
Another characteristic he includes is the writing of mysterious events such
as the adultery of Hester, the birth of Pearl and the return of her husband
Roger Chllingworth.

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07/08/2011 13:48

Scarlett Letter is an example of romanticism through myth and symbolism. Symbolism is represented through the "A" on Hester Prynne's chest. The "A" is a representative of the crime Hester committed in society, which was adultry. It is also a symbol of the humiliation she will go through for the restr of her life. People will always look down on Hester simply because of the "A" she wears on her chest. The "A" will also symbolize the strength she will gain over time by having to endure the bad thoughts and words of others.
The Scarlett Letter is represents myth through Pearl. Many people in society felt that Pearl was the devil because she was concieved under sinful circumstances. "A strange child!" remarked old Roger Chillingworth."(Hawthorne 103). This is one example of how Pearl is referred to and will most likely be referred to for the rest of her life. She is also at times referred to as a "devil child" because she was born out of sin that her mother committed. Being a "devil" is a type of mythical crreature which is why this book represents myth in the romanticism period.

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07/08/2011 13:50

Scarlett Letter is an example of romanticism through myth and symbolism. Symbolism is represented through the "A" on Hester Prynne's chest. The "A" is a representative of the crime Hester committed in society, which was adultry. It is also a symbol of the humiliation she will go through for the restr of her life. People will always look down on Hester simply because of the "A" she wears on her chest. The "A" will also symbolize the strength she will gain over time by having to endure the bad thoughts and words of others.
The Scarlett Letter is represents myth through Pearl. Many people in society felt that Pearl was the devil because she was concieved under sinful circumstances. "A strange child!" remarked old Roger Chillingworth."(Hawthorne 103). This is one example of how Pearl is referred to and will most likely be referred to for the rest of her life. She is also at times referred to as a "devil child" because she was born out of sin that her mother committed. Being a "devil" is a type of mythical crreature which is why this book represents myth in the romanticism period.

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