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1 By Nathaniel Hawthorne PowerPoint By Rebecca Jones
The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne PowerPoint By Rebecca Jones

2 Setting The Scarlet Letter is set in the seventeenth century, puritanical, New England colony of Massachusetts. The complete action is set in the town of Boston with the scenes shifting within it. The crucial scaffold scenes are set in the market place, while the decisive meeting of Hester and Dimmesdale is set in the forest. The novel, however, opens with a prison setting, foreshadowing the future seclusion, gloominess and condemnation of the protagonists.

3 Major Characters

4 Hester Prynne The protagonist of the novel who is an English woman and the wife of Roger Chillingworth. She is tried and condemned for her sin of adultery with Dimmesdale and charged to wear the scarlet letter, "A", an indication of adultery, on the bosom of her gown forever. Even though she has a daughter out of wedlock, she refuses to reveal who the father is. As a young woman, her youthful beauty, luxuriant hair, and excellent features are diminished by her self-effacing puritanical way of dressing. As an older lady, she returns to Boston where she is finally accepted for her kindness and service.

5 Arthur Dimmesdale The young, handsome, and unmarried pastor of Hester's church. Apart from committing adultery with Hester, he is guilty of hiding his sin. His intense suffering and remorse, however, are reflected in his rundown physical appearance. He emerges as the tragic figure of the novel around whom revolves the plot's suspense and on whom the reader's attention is centered. Thus, he is also considered a protagonist, like Hester.

6 Roger Chillingworth A scholarly physician who has sent his wife ahead of him to America. He fails to join her quickly, for he is captured by Indians from whom he gathers a knowledge of herbal medicine. He is an old, evil, vicious, ugly, and deformed man. His diabolical vengeance on Dimmesdale, while pretending to treat him, makes him the personification of evil.

7 Pearl The beautiful daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She is the living symbol of the scarlet letter and has peculiar traits that make her sometimes appear as a demon. Her love for nature and freedom, her vivacious spirit, her alienation, her rebelliousness, her inquisitiveness, and her innocent but symbolic comments reveal her distinct personality. She is, however, a product of the difficult situation into which she is born.

8 Symbolism The Scarlet Letter is filled with symbolism. Symbolism is when one thing is used to represent something else. Example: A Skull and Crossbones is a symbol of poisonous substances or something dangerous.

9 Darkness vs. Light Sunshine seldom shines on Hester, but often on Pearl. Sunshine represents goodness while the darkness represents evil and hidden sins. The forest is a dark and forbiding place that the Puritans felt was full of evil. This is the place where Hester and Arthur meet years after Pearl is born,and it is only there that they can feel free enough to express their long repressed feelings for one another, for it is here that the rules of society cannot penetrate

10 The Sunlight Does Not Shine on Hester
“Mother,” said little Pearl, “the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!” “Nor ever will, my child, I hope,” said Hester. “And why not, mother?” asked Pearl, stopping short “Will it not come of its own accord, when I am a woman grown?”

11 Dimmesdale Hides in the Light
It is only in the dark of night that Arthur Dimmesdale can allow himself to come out and "reveal" his sin as he does in the dark of night on the scaffold where Hester’s sin was revealed in the light of day.

12 Pearl Pearls are formed in oysters when a grain of sand slips inside and irritates the oyster. The oyster covers the irritant and it becomes a thing of rare beauty. Just like a real pearl , Pearl in The Scarlet Letter is born of her mother's shame and suffering , but has become a precious, rare, and beautiful child.

13 The Letter “A” The "A" represents adultery in the beginning of the book. It is Hester's punishment for committing sin. She wears it with stoic endurance and embellishes it with gold threads until it becomes a thing of beauty. Later in the novel, the town has forgotten Hester's original sin. Now the "A" is thought to represent "able" or "angel" When the meteor makes a phenomenal "A" in the night sky, the town is in awe of its wonder. They think it must be "Angel" . We may also associate it with “Alone” or “Alienation”

14 The Rosebush by the Prison Door
The prison is a place of despair and doom, but the rose growing by the door represents the beauty and forgiveness of nature.

15 The Scaffold The scaffold is a place of punishment. It is a place where Hester is sentenced to stand for hours with little Pearl in her arms. It is this same scaffold that Arthur Dimmesdale sneaks out to in the dark of night to punish himself as he should have been punished years earlier with Hester and Pearl.

16 Themes Themes are universal ideas that an author wants to express through his/her writings. A theme is not the “topic”, but rather an idea about the topic that an author wants to put forth.

17 Example of Theme The topic of a love story is, of course, love. The theme, however, may be that real love goes beyond outer beauty and focuses on the person within.

18 Themes in The Scarlet Letter (You may think of more)
Forgiveness and Revenge Guilt and Innocence Truth and Lies Hypocrisy

19 Forgiveness and Revenge
CHillingsworth seeks his revenge for Hester's adultery, but it poisons his soul and destroys any happiness he might have found. His only vindication comes when he leaves his inheritance to little Pearl.

20 Guilt and Innocence Hester accepts her guilt and her punishment without complaint. Arthur Dimmesdale hides his guilt, and it destroys him from within. He cannot bear what he has done, but has not the courage to face his sins. Pearl is the innocent product of her parent's guilt and sin, but she is innocent and beautiful. She grows up to live a life of luxury.

21 Truth and Lies Arthur Dimmesdale cannot face his sin. He does not have the courage to face his punishment. He secretly carves the “A” into his chest in a vain attempt to punish himself. The real punishment is that which his own guilt and lies do to his soul. They destroy him from within. Hester accepts her punishment. She does not hide from it, and she is , at the end, vindicated because no one remembers her sin. Roger Chillingsworth hides his true identity. In so doing, he becomes filled with bitterness, hatred, and evil. It is only when he leaves an inheritance to little Pearl that the reader feels any sympathy toward him.

22 Be True Because both Chillingworth and Dimmesdale live a lie, they suffer more than Hester, whose sin is known.

23 Hypocrisy The townspeople shun Hester and the children are forbidden to play with little Pearl. Yet they seek Hester's skills as a seamstress, and they secretly envy the beauty of the embellished "A" that adorns her clothing....adornment that they, as Puritans of plain and simple lifestyle are forbidden to wear. Arthur Dimmesdale enjoys the prestige of being a well-respected minister, a man of God. Yet, he is the father of Hester's child, the sinful adulterer the townspeople want Hester to name.

24 Pride It is Hester’s pride that helps her survive .
It is Arthur Dimmesdale’s pride that leads to his destruction. It is Roger Chillingworth’s pride that leads him to be a bitter, evil person obsessed with vindictiveness.

25 Irony Irony of situation : When we expect one thing to happen, but the opposite happens instead. Verbal Irony: When someone says one thing, but actually means the opposite. Dramatic Irony: When the reader knows something that the characters in a story do not know.

26 Dramatic Irony in The Scarlet Letter
The reader knows that Arthur Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father. The townspeople do not know this. The reader knows that Roger Chillingworth is Hester’s husband. The townspeople do not know this.

27 Situational Irony in The Scarlet Letter
The symbol of Hester’s sin ( the “A”) that could have destroyed Hester has made her stronger and envied by those who shunned her.

28 Irony (cont.) The "A" that Hester is forced to wear, and which she hates in the beginning, becomes a valued part of her identity. She even refuses to remove it when she no longer is required to wear it. She panics when the town considers allowing her to remove it.

29 Irony (cont.) The sin that Arthur Dimmesdale hides because he is afraid it will destroy his reputation as the revered minister ends up destroying his very life.

30 Irony (cont.) Pearl, who is shunned along with her mother, grows up to have all the luxuries that those who shunned her will never have.

31 The End

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