The Scarlet Letter

what does hawthorne focus upon and criticize the scarlet letter

hawthorne's focus on scarlet letter and how he criticized the scarlet letter.

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Hawthorne's use of the scarlet letter was extremely symbolic; the novel could have stood on its own without the device......... he didn't need the letter, but the letter symbolized everything he was criticizing.

The scarlet letter, as a symbol, becomes Hawthorne's argument. It gives substance to his criticism, and through this one, simple piece of cloth he conveys the moral fabric of the Puritans.

From the beginning, the letter colors the novel. It conveys a picture, a picture of ideas........ and s foreshadowing of gloom. It burns upon Hester's breast like a beacon; it isolates both Hester and Pearl; it's a mark. Hawthorne exemplifies the power of this symbol by allowing it to be Pearl's first plaything. She is the essence of innocence, but what she holds in her hand says otherwise.

Criticism of the letter is contained in most every sentence of the novel, as the letter dominates everything else around it. It condemns Hester, it dirties a child, it haunts a minister. It appears on the minister breast, where, "God's eye beheld it! the angels were forever pointing at it! the devil knew it well, and fretted it continually with the touch of his burning finger!" Dimmesdale sees the symbol everywhere, and when he isn't seeing its vision in the night's sky, or in Hester's shame, or in Pearl's face, he feels it within himself. He's a good man who's made a mistake, and in the world of Christianity God forgives those who ask for his forgiveness. The existence of the letter precludes all else, and it proclaims there is no forgiveness......... this is the lie. This is Hawthorne's criticism.


The Scarlet Letter