Zach Bijesse, Philipp Mahlich, Corey Brown, Dave

The Scarlet Letter



The Scarlet Letter reflects the personal experience of the author and it reflects the feelings of his era.

This relates to how Hester feels about her daughter because she cherishes her daughter, but all of the townspeople and children of the townspeople think the child is an abomination, because she has no known father.

This relates to the governor, and how he held his position and standing in the eyes of the people.

Every man - no matter how smart, sophisticated, and morally developed he is - would give himself into sin for something he has his heart set on.

Chapter 1

The Prison Door:

The Scarlet Letter is used as a symbol of a prison for Hester. The letter marks her and evokes certain stereotypes in the viewer. She is caught in these stereotypes and can’t escape from it – just like a prison. The Scarlet Letter functions as the prison door. By getting rid of the letter, she would be able to escape the emotional prison she is in, although society would still associate her with negative aspects.
Also, all the townspeople crowded around the prison door personalize the rest of the town. They all gossip about her and blame her, just as the rest of the town does.
The rosebushes next to the prison symbolize the actually freedom a person admires, sitting behind prison doors. Roses, the common symbol for love, only grow on the air, in sunlight and enough space to spread out. Behind the prison door, there is barely sunlight, not enough space to spread out.

​Chapter 2

Breathe Carolina-Gossip

Hey World are you afraid
Hey World be very afraid
(#1)Baby girl baby girl I'm not afraid
(Keep Talking)

So dream on, your sleeping with the lights on,
(#2)i know i'm the one your thinking of
don't try to run try to run they're coming
(#3)you'll never let this go

I got plenty of time to waste on you
and if you travel alone can i come to
i've been tryin so hard to get it into you
and if you want to ride travel from the inside
I'm the light and everybody's walking my way
(#4)I'll take another, I'm not afraid
(I know it's jealousy cause all eyes on me, know it's jelousy cause i'm kill'n)

Not only in Chapter 2, but in the whole book, Hester resists the ideals of the Puritan society. This song shows how Hester may feel as she mentally refutes society. For example, (#1) is Hester's thought when she stands on the scafford in front of the people. She is with the baby, who is the creation of her and her true lover (12). If (#1) is Hester's belief of resisting from her fate, (#2) and (#3) are public opinion of Puritan society. People at that time couldn't allow the adultery. Although there is a reason-revealed through out the book-that Hester commited adultery and had a baby, people still gossip Hester who go against God (15). (#4) is Hester's response about (#2) and (#3),and she shows her intentions and thoughts by not leaving her town.

Chapter 6
golden-bell-tree-plant_~u13056093.jpgMMD1518_l.jpg (left) (right)

As Pearl’s name tells, Pearl is the most precious treasure to Hester (41). As the forsythia (the name of the flower shown on left) gives pleasure to people, Pearl gives bliss to her mother. Also, the forsythia blooms its flower earlier than any other flowers; the forsythia blooms in March, while others bloom in April or May. In the book, Pearl is described as a child who “arrived at an age that was capable of social intercourse with strange rapidity” (45) because of her background. She knew this world earlier than any other child, just like the forsythia blooms earliest of the flowers.

Chapter 7
This quote relates to the conflict between Hester and Pearl because of what the quote means. Hester is saying that she has no happiness or happy thoughts she can give to Pearl, because Hester has none. She is isolated and alone, and is depressed. Pearl, however, is a very upbeat, happy person. As mother and daughter, these two have conflicting personalities.

Chapter 8
Hester is not an unfit mother. Hester Prynne is constantly learning from her mistake; and although those lessons don't help Hester Prynne, they benefit Pearl (62). Although she wears "a badge of shame" (61), she can teach her little Pearl what she has learned from her mistake. Hester has learned that she should have stayed faithful to her husband, and being faithful to anything would be a very useful thing for Pearl to learn. Hester Prynne is also not an unfit mother because she loves her daughter, and love is what a daughter needs. Hester loves Pearl so much that she will die before she gives Pearl away (64).

Chapter 9-10
The Relationship between Dimmesdale and Chillingworth
Chillingworth acts like a physician to Dimmesdale, so they have a close relationship and think they know each other; but they have secrets. This relationship is similar to how the main characters of the movie "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" treat each other. Although both ends of the relationships seem to get along well, they secretly despise each other.

Chapter 11
“To the untrue man, the whole universe is false-it is palpable-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.”
This quote relates to the current event of Tiger Woods cheating on his wife. This relates because he believed himself to be above all of the rules, and that his cheating would not be noticed, and he would still be held in the highest esteem by not only other golfers, but his fan base and family as well. Since he has been caught cheating, the media has branded him with a symbolic scarlet letter of shame.

Chapter 13
How does the town's community changed its view on Hester Prynne

The people of the town looked at had always looked at Hester as a person of disrespect and shame. The letter “A” evoked emotions in the community and especially in Hester herself. In chapter 13, the community describes her as friendly and kind; they began to see a deeper meaning in the Scarlet Letter. “They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength." (chapter 13, p. 113) This meant that the community finally realized how tough Hester's life must be; keeping up with all the scowls she would get on the streets from other people and the gossip on everybody's mind. They also raise the myth about the letter, that it guards her life and gives her the strength of immortality.

They keep looking.
Keep looking as if I am cruel.
I committed a crime.
I fell in love.

I want to keep this love,
but how?
I want to keep the secret,
but how?

I am a woman,
like every other.
I have my sins,
like every other.

But they keep looking.
Keep looking as if I am cruel.
Did I commit a crime?

Good I can hide myself behind A letter,

Chapter 18
Actually, the author starts to call the minister as "Arthur Dimmesdale" instead of "Mr. Dimmesdale" from middle of Chapter 17, which has the scene that Hester tells the truth to Dimmesdale. Because Hester confesses that Chillingworth is her husband (149), Dimmesdale can forgive Hester. After he discusses their plan to flee with Hester, finally, he can be free from his burden which has bound him for 7 years. The change of the way of author's calling is to show that Dimmesdale is sharing his sin with Hester.

Hawthorne chooses Hester to raise a daughter, and not a son, because Hester needs someone to teach about how Hester’s decision to cheat on Chillingworth has come back to torture her (62). It would be much more simple for Pearl to evolve into her mother thans for a boy to evolve into his mother; this is due to the gender barrier. Pearl even imitates her mother by making a green letter A out of eelgrass for her own chest (132).
Hawthorne also chooses Hester to raise a daughter because girls have an innocence that boys do not have. Even though puritans had high behavioral expectations for their children*, a boy would not seem as freakish and elvish as Pearl is said to be for acting outlandish (48, 46); girls just don’t misbehave as much as boys.

Extra Credit
scarletletter_fire_edit.jpg sixth_sense_edit.jpg
Scarlet Letter is similar to the Sixth Sense because both stories include a troubled child who are raised by their slightly-incompetent mothers. In the Scarlet Letter, Pearl Prynne is regarded as acting freakish, elvish, and outlandish (48, 46). Pearl is the daughter of Hester Prynne, a convicted adulteress. In The Sixth Sense, Cole Sear is the son of Lynn Sear, a single mother who is troubled because she works two jobs. Cole is also regarded as outlandish. Both and Hester and Lynn are too troubled by their own problems in life to take care of their child’s social ineptness. A contrast between the two stories is that at the end of the Sixth Sense, Cole becomes liberated from his troubles and fears; at the end of The Scarlet Letter, Pearl just disappears.