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The Scarlet Letter Chapter 18

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Marisa Mier

on 7 March 2011

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Transcript of The Scarlet Letter Chapter 18

The Scarlet Letter Chapter 18 By:
Meisha, Hazel,
Chris, and Marisa
Ap English
Monday, March 7th, 2011 Color Analysis Summary Quotes and Analysis Literary Elements "She had wandered, without rule or guidence, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom as which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate." "Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods." "...but this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose." "It was the exhilarating effect-upon a prisoner just escaped form the dugeon of his own heart..." "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 "All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees." Hester lived a lonely, secluded life after receiving the scarlet letter. Hawthorne assists the reader in visualizing her life with the comparison of the dark forest that engulfs Hester and Dimmesdale. Hawthorne uses imagery in describing the forest so that the reader may connect the two ideas: the forest and Hester's life. Just as the wild indian is secluded from the Puritan society, so is Hester's heart and intellegence. She will not allow others to see these sacred pieces of her. The wild indian was more confined in his land when the white man dominated. Thus, just as the indian is not entirely free any longer, neither is Hester. Hawthorne uses an alliteration to describe exactly what was the affair between Hester and Dimmesdale. Since it was a "sin of passion", the reader can infer that the love between the two was so powerful it could not be restrained. It was "not of principle", so Hester and Dimmesdale did not contemplate whether it was rational and likely did not consider the consequences. They neither contained a logical purpose of their affair. Dimmesdale had immersed himself in grief and guilt after his sin with Hester. Hawthorn wished to convey that Dimmesdale bound himself in his own chains of misery. After the discussion of fleeing with Hester, he experienced joy, which unraveled the chains of misery and he set himself free. Therefore, Hawthorn chose to compare Dimmesdale's relief and happiness to that of a prisoner who just got relinquished from the dungeon. Hawthorne selected the word "dungeon" rather than jail because a dungeon is a more gruesome place to be trapped in. A passport is an object that allows a person to travel various places. This is what the scarlet letter was to Hester: a passport. The scarlet letter caused Hester to endure what many women of her day had not. She learned difficult lessons and grew stronger and more able. This provided her with the ability to have the courage to venture to do things that other woman would not dream of doing. Hawthorne brought alive different emotions that filled Hester's body. He classified them as her "teachers". Just as school teachers prepare their students with vital lessons, the emotions Hester delt with instructed her with lessons with equal importance. The emotions taught her strength, "but taught [Hester] much amiss". Once harmony between Dimmesdale and Hester altered their internal feelings by bringing joy and excitement, the mood transformed their entire surroundings. The imagery used is a reflection of their lives. A once gloomy and dreary forest was illuminated with sunshine and bright colors. "...as with a sudden smile of heaven...transmuting the yellow fallen [leaves] to gold..." The transformation of the forest is remarkable. Hawthorne paints the picture of the impossible to project how the change from gloom to joy is incredibly magical. "A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale." Hawthorne decided to incorporate the crimson color illumniated off her cheeks to reflect life out of Hester. The difference between crimson and pale is tremendous, therefore Hester's cheek turning red for the first time in seven years signaled a turning point in the story. Hawthorne decided to reveal that Hester's cheek turned crimson because it demonstrated that Hester had life that flowed threw her. The difference between red and pale is tremendous, therefore, Hester's cheek changing from pale to crimson signifies a turning point in the story. "A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale." Dimmesdale is convinced that his chance of a wonderful after-life is doomed and decided to snatch the opportunity of creating a new life with Hester. His love for her became apparent, and he needed her because "neither can [he] any longer live without her companionship." For the first time in seven years, Dimmesdale felt joy and free from judgemental captivity. Hester rided herself of the scarlet letter. She spurned it, tossed it amongst the dead leaves, and left the scarlet letter there for some wanderer to discover. Hawthorne incorporated this scene to add to his credibility as an author. The heavy burden of the scarlet letter was gone, and Hester began to return to her normal self. She uncovered her lush hair from her cap, and allowed it to lay freely on her shoulders. Her beauty emerged as life bounced back into her features. How do the colors in Chapter 18 compare with the colors in Chapter 17? Would Hester have been happier with Dimmesdale if the drama of the scarlet letter never occured? Hester and Dimmesdale differed in character and how they handled the lessons of the scarlet letter. Hester allowed her emotions to make her a stronger woman. Dimmesdale felt submerged with laws that attributed to his guilty concious. As life was shining through Hester, the forest sprang alive with light. The gloomy forest received beautiful features. Suddenly, Hester gained the desire for Dimmesdale to get aquainted with Pearl. Hesitant to Hester's suggestion, Dimmesdale inquires whether he can achieve Pearl's love. Pearl was not bored when her mother was conversing with Dimmesdale. The forest succeded in entertaining her. She picked appealing berries and was satisfied with the burst of flavor they sent in her mouth. The animals of the forest were unsure of Pearl when they first laid eyes on her, but moments after they were friendly and were not afraid. A wolf even allowed itself to be petted by Pearl. The animals seemed to have been aware of the "kindred wildness in the human child." The flowers desired to sit in her hair, and Pearl gained the appearence of a nymph-child. It was not until she laid eyes on Dimmesdale that Pearl became hesitant and took her time to approach the two. "Pearl adorned herself, when she heard her mother's voice, and came slowly back. Slowly; for she saw the clergyman!" Why did Pearl react that way? "So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter, and, thaking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance among the withered leaves. " Hester had chosen to punish herself constantly because of the scarlet letter, even after people had forgotten. It wasn't until that moment when Hester made peace with herself that she was comfortable with the removal of the letter. She was ready to be rid of it because rather than releasing the scarlet letter from her grasp and allowing it to fall to the floor adjacent to her feet, she hurled it far away on withered leaves. "Love, whether newly born, or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create a sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance that it overflows upon the outward world." The forest was transformed into a beautiful, magical area. The reader can infer that Hester and Dimmesdale shared that eternal love because it "[overflowed] upon the outward world". Hawthorne did not allow the reader to forget their roses that they had in their grasp all along.
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