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The Scarlet Letter: Rhetorical Devices

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by

Jessie Weickert

on 13 October 2014

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Transcript of The Scarlet Letter: Rhetorical Devices

Is Dimmesdale a
saint
or
sinner
?
Which is worse:
adultery
or a
witch
accusation?
Is Hester's letter truly a
punishment
?
What does the "A" stand for?
Have the Puritans truly gotten away from the
English
culture?
Contradiction, Irony and Hypocrisy
Ambiguity
Chillingworth collects herbs from the graveyard and tells Dimmesdale that they come from the grave of a man with an
unconfessed sin
in his heart.
When Dimmesdale reveals his chest at the end, some deny ever seeing a mark on his chest, while some admit.
The red "
A
" seen in the sky is believed by Hester and Dimmesdale to stand for "
adultery
" while the townspeople think it stands for "
angel
".
Connotations
Dimmesdale's reaction to his
guilt.

In the beginning, the town
shunned
Hester for what she had done but once they got to know her, they began to like her and realize that she had just made a mistake.

At first, no one in the town liked Pearl, considering she was conceived through
sin
, but in reality she was
innocent.
Symbolism
Rhetorical Devices in The Scarlet Letter
Dimmesdale's death

Rose Bush

Scarlet Letter "
A
"

Pearl






Description
Imagery
Syntax
Explanation

"The wooden
jail
was already marked with weather stains and other indications of age, which gave a yet
darker
aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front."
Diction
"the precise word choices used"
Reflects
time
period and
knowledge
.
Examples:
"Meagre, indeed, and cold was the
sympathy
."
“Lurid
fire
in his heart.”
"The symbol...was
red-hot
with internal fire, and could be seen glowing all alight."

Duality
Appearance
: Pearl dresses in brilliant clothes, which was a sign of
vanity
for the Puritans. At the same time, the other Puritans come to Hester for their clothing needs
Pearl is very connected with
nature
which was a "
forbidden
" area in Puritan society. There are lies and secrets and schemes in the woods but in the towns all this goes away. In a symbolic way, Pearl is the
Garden of Eden.
Duality Cont.
Pearl
shuns
ideas and relationships with other people in the town and they consider her a child of the
devil
for doing so, even though they all shunned Hester.
Hester: The "
A
" once meant
adultery
, but came to mean "
Angel/Able
".
Although some think Pearl is a devil child, others think she is good.
Contrasts
The
forest
is where there is
secrecy
, which is a direct contrast from the very public
scaffold
(
truth
).
A
pearl
is white, which represents
goodness
and
purity
.
Pearl is the spawn of a sinner and is often described as a
devil
child.
"Direct opposition to two things compared"
"an unclear, indefinite, or equivocal meaning to a word or phrase"
"The suggesting of additional meanings by a word or expression, apart from its literal definition"
"Representing concepts or objects with other things"
"To compare in order to show unlikeliness or difference"
"The quality of being in two parts"
Allegory
"A symbol that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one"
Pearl (from a clam) Pearl (Hester's Daughter)
Found
under unique circumstances

Represents
peace
and
purity

Remains
hidden
from the world
Pearl was
born
under a unique circumstance

Peace
and
joining
of her parents

I
solated
from the rest of the town
Motifs
Knowledge and Secrecy
"A distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.
Secrecy
and bias
disguise
knowledge
Knowledge
and
secrecy
are often confused
The only true
knowledge
is inner knowledge
Civilization and Wilderness/Nature
Contrast
of
Dimmesdale
and Pearl
Society seeks
knowledge
which
wilderness
hides
Civilization
reflects
morality
and
wilderness
reflect
humanity
Full transcript