The Scarlet Letter Analysis
By: Lilia, Annlei, Tyler

Nathanial Hawthorne uses the introduction to show his distaste for the ways of the Puritans and the harsh conditions under which they lived their lives. The introduction also reveals how the narrator found a scarlet letter in the Custom House and how it became the inspiration for his book, The Scarlet Letter.

“No aim, that I have ever cherished, would they recognize as laudable; no success of mine—if my life, beyond its domestic scope, had ever been brightened by success—would they deem otherwise than worthless, if not positively disgraceful. “What is he?” murmurs one gray shadow of my forefathers to the other.” (Hawthorne 276)

This quote relates to a personal account of mine. Some older members at my church still believe that a woman’s place is at home and that women shouldn’t focus on education and job opportunities. Any path that a woman chooses, other than staying a home, is looked down upon by them.

“There were traces about it of gold embroidery, which, however, was greatly frayed and defaced, so that none, or very little, of the glitter was left. It had been wrought, as was easy to perceive, with wonderful skill of needlework; and the stitch (as I am assured by ladies conversant with such mysteries) gives evidence of a now forgotten art, not to be discovered even by the process of picking out the threads.” (Hawthorne 296)

This quote describes the letter A that was first introduced in chapters 1-10. When Hester wore the letter A, she embroidered it very fancifully with gold thread just like described in the quote above.

“Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.” (Hawthorne 277)

This quote foreshadows the end of the novel because Hester and Pearl end up moving away. Even though Hester returns to her roots just like the narrator in Custom House does, she leaves Pearl behind in a new place because she realizes that Pearl won’t be successful at a place associated with so much pain and suffering.

CHAPTER ONE: The Prison Door

The Prison Door is built very solidly and is obviously going to hold the most formidable of prisoners and it shows that the citizens of Boston have zero tolerance of anyone who breaks the accepted laws and unwritten rules of the harsh Puritan society.

The scarlet letter symbolizes the intangible prison that locks away Hester's dignity and active role in society. It separates her from the rest of society and puts her in a position of an outcast. She becomes unaccepted by everyone else.

CHAPTER TWO: The Market Place

TroubleBy Coldplay
Listen to this song: **Coldplay Trouble**

Oh no, I see,
A spider web is tangled up with me,
And I lost my head,
The thought of all the stupid things I'd said.

Oh no, what's this?
A spider web, and I'm caught in the middle,
So I turn to run,
The thought of all the stupid things I've done,

And I never meant to cause you trouble,
I never meant to do you wrong,
And I, well if I ever caused you trouble,
And oh no, I never meant to do you harm.

Oh no, I see,
A spider web and it's me in the middle,
So I twist and turn,
Here am I in my little bubble,

Singing I, never meant to cause you trouble,
And I, never meant to do you wrong,
And I, well if I ever caused you trouble,
Oh, no I never meant to do you harm.

They spun a web for me,
They spun a web for me,
They spun a web for me.

This song describes what Hester is feeling during this somber occasion in the Puritan times. The line "a spider web is tangled up in me" can relate to Hester's messy situation and how she is confused and tangled up inside. The line "here I am in my little bubble" shows that Hester is all alone in this situation and has no one to rely on. The line "they spun a web for me" refers to the Puritans and how they made a big deal from Hester's situation and were the reason why she got caught in this web or trap of theirs. Hester is sorry for her sin and is afraid that Dimmesdale will get caught eventually. This emotion is expressed in the lines "I, never meant to cause you trouble, and I, never meant to do you wrong, and I, well if I ever caused you trouble, oh, no I never meant to do you harm".

CHAPTER THREE: The Recognition
· Hester recognizes her husband, Chillingworth, who obviously does not want the people of Boston to know that he is her husband.
· The public and Dimmesdale recognize that Hester is never going to name her partner in crime.
· Hester recognizes that she will always be viewed by the public as an outcast, even when she is off the scaffold.


The colors in this painting make it seem alive just like Pearl’s bubbly personality. The letters and chair in the background show that Pearl is constantly around the scarlet letter A that her mother has to wear. It is also hard to see the letters in the background so the viewer has to scrutinize the painting. This relates to Pearl because she is also examining the world around her and coming to her own conclusions. The gold at the top relates to Pearl because it looks like a piece of a fancy garment made by her mother that she would normally wear.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Governor’s Hall
"Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee." (Hawthorne 54)

Some signs of depression are feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixiating on past failures or blaming oneself when things are not going right ( Article on Depression
). Hester shows signs of depression because she is overcome with guilt for her act of adultry and feels unhappy and worthless. People equate sunshine to happiness and positive things in their life. Hester feels that she has no happiness and this quote means that Pearl will need to create her own happiness and way in the world.

CHAPTER EIGHT: The Elf Child and the Minister

There are many reasons why Hester is not an unfit mother for Pearl. Even though this child came at a big price for Hester, she has decided to treat it as a blessing and give Pearl constant love and devotion. Hester teaches Pearl religion just as the other Puritan mothers would but she also allows Pearl to have an open mind and create her own opinions about the world. Hester's experience with sin and punishment only makes her strive harder to prevent Pearl from making the same mistakes.

CHAPTER NINE-TEN: The Leech/The Leech and His Patient

Watch Trailer: Count of Monte Cristo

Doctor Roger Chillingworth is a secret enemy seeking revenge of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. The relationship between these two characters compares to the relationship between Edmond and Count Morcerf from the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Both Chilllingworth and Edmond befriend their enemies (Dimmesdale and Morcerf) for the purpose of revenge. They both waste many years plotting this revenge only to find it dissatisfying in the end.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: The Interior of a Heart

"To the untrue man, the whole universe is false,—it is impalpable,—it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist." (Hawthorne 97)

The current event that relates to this quote is the incident with Tiger Woods. Ever since Tiger Woods committed his sin, he has been meditating and claiming that he is serious now. He cannot play golf with the passion that he used to becasue he often got so mad.
From The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale is punishing himself for the sin he has committed. Tiger Woods is putting on this big public show of being sorry and is desperately sorry for the pain that he has caused his wife. Dimmesdale feels very guilty because he has kept his sin a secret. He wishes he had the courage to make it public and Chillingworth is making sure that Dimmesdale suffers as much as he possibly can. Tiger Woods has been very private for the past few months and punishing himself for his mistakes but he has come to terms with his sin.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Another View of Hester
The left side of the drawing shows that the Puritans now view Hester as helpful in society because she cares poor the poor and listens to the troubled. The right side shows that Hester still views herself as sinful and imprisoned by the scarlet letter.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: A Flood of Sunshine

The minister, before chapter XVIII, had been shrouded in a veil which sapped him and made him sickly. In this chapter when he is in the woods with Hester, he shows a new side of affection and emotion that has been hidden from the reader. He even declares that he is able to feel joy again and is ecstastic at a chance to escape his former life where he has been imprisoned by grief for so long. The author suddenly calls him Arthur Dimmesdale instead of Dimmesdale because he wants to show that the relations between Arthur and Hester are at a personal level and that they are both equal because of the sin that they committed together.