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Kate Chopin is one of the first female writers to address female issues, primarily sexuality. Chopin declares that women are capable of overt sexuality in which they explore and enjoy their sexuality. Chopin shows that her women are capable of loving more than one man at a time. They are not only attractive but sexually attracted (Ziff 148).
Two of Chopin's stories that reflect this attitude of sexuality are The Awakening and one of her short stories The Storm. Although critics now acclaim these two stories as great accomplishments, Chopin has been condemned during her life for writing such vulgar and risqu? pieces. In 1899 Chopin publishes The Awakening. She is censured for its positively unseemly theme (Kimbel 91).
Due to the negative reception of The Awakening Chopin never tries to publish The Storm. She feels that the literary establishment can not accept her bold view of human sexuality (Kimbel 108). Chopin definitely proves to be an author way ahead of her time. The Awakening is considered to be Chopin's best work as well as a unlikely novel to be written during the 1890 s in America.
The Awakening is a story about a woman, Edna Pontellier, who is a conventional wife and mother. Edna experiences a spiritual awakening in the sense of independence that changes her life. Edna Pontellier begins her awakening at the Grand Isle when Harmon 2 she is 28 years old. She has been married for ten years, and she has two children. This situation proves to be different from the male characters of most other novels because they almost always do not have to face the complications of marriage and parenthood to reach self-determination (Bogarad 159). Chopin is able to portray this awakening through Edna's relationships with her husband, children, Alcee, and Robert.
Kate Chopin always writes about marital instability in her fiction (Wilson 148). The first way in which Chopin is able to portray an awakening by Edna is through her relationship with her husband, Leonce. Chopin describes Leonce as a likable guy. He is a successful businessman, popular with his friends, and devotes himself to Edna and the children (Spangler 154).
Although Edna's marriage to Leonce is purely and accident, he pleases her and his absolute devotion flattered her (Chopin 506). However, it is clearly obvious to the reader the Leonce acts as the oppressor of Edna (Allen 72). When the reader first sees them together, Leonce is looking at his wife as a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage (Chopin 494). The most important aspect to Leonce is making money and showing off his wealth. He believes his wifes role to be caring for him and his children. Therefore, the first step toward her freedom is to be free of his rule.
Edna is able to accomplish this first by denying Leonce the submissiveness which he is accustomed to. She does this by abandoning her Tuesday visitors, she makes no attempt to keep an organized household, and she comes and goes as she pleases (Chopin 536). The next big step in gaining her freedom from her husband is when she moves into a house of her own while Leonce is away taking of business. She does not even wait to see what his opinion of the Harmon 3 matter is (Chopin 558).
It is quite evident the only thing Leonce worries about is what people are going to say. Therefore, he begins to remodel the house so it does not appear that Edna has left him. Mr. Pontellier had saved appearances! (Chopin 565). Leonce never really understands what happens to his marriage with Edna. Instead he has to face the fact that he as well as the children are of no consequence to his wife (Spangler 154).
There is also the fact that divorce is not a consideration because in the 1890 s this right has not been generally recognized. The reader must understand that as a matter of historical fact her options are different from modern ones (Allen 72). Secondly, Edna must become free from her children. For many years Edna has been a good mother, but now she sees her boys as an opposition. Therefore, she refuses to live for them, but rather for herself (Seyersted 151). While at the Grand Isle Edna tells one of her good friends, Madame Ratignolle, that she would give my life for my children; but I would not give myself (Chopin 529).
Edna believes that she can direct her own life, but she also acknowledges her responsibility toward her children. She knows how the patriarchal society condemns a freedom-seeking women who neglects her children (Seyersted 62). The reader also comes to know Adele Ratignolle well. As a friend of Edna's, she represents the exact opposite. Chopin portrays Adele as being totally devoted mother to her family and happy of her domestic lifestyle. She has a baby every two years.
Although Adele shows her unselfishness in her care for the children, she also uses her children in order to draw attention to herself (Seyersted 152). Until Edna goes to one of Adele's childbirths she still believes that she has the ability to direct her own life. Adele reminds Edna of the mothers duties toward her children (Chopin 578). This event allows Edna it realize her view of her possibilities for a Harmon 4 self-directed life (Seyersted 151). Therefore, she finds her power to dictate her own life to be nothing but an illusion (Seyersted 62).
The next way Chopin is able to portray Edna's sense of freedom is through her relationships with Alcee Arabia and Robert Lebrun. Edna likes Alcee's company because he is charming, attentive, amusing, and a person of the world. He is a sexual partner who does not ask for, receive, or give love. When Edna kisses Alcee she is awakened to the idea that sex and love can be separated. Although she loves Robert truly, she separates her feelings for Robert in order to control her desire (Bogarad 160). Edna first meets Robert Lebrun during her summer stay at the Grand Isle.
At the summers end Edna goes home and Robert goes to Mexico for business. When Robert returns because business does not go as he plans, Robert and Edna are together. However, Edna does not feel the closeness at first that she expects and in some way he had seemed nearer to her off there in Mexico (Chopin 572). Although they do finally confess their mutual love, they know they can never be together in reality because of Leonce (Spangler 154). Robert knows he can not return the love to Edna which she gives him because he only feels free to love Edna when there is no risk involved (Bogarad 160). Robert does love and wants Edna, but he can not bring himself to join in Edna's rebellion to break up the sacraments of marriage (Bogarad 161).
In reality the men of her life split her. Robert sees her as a angel, and Alcee sees her as a whore (Bogarad 160). Edna does awaken to her true love for Robert, but uses Alcee as a convenience (Arms 149). This type of behavior of a women during this time is unheard of.
The last way Chopin is able to explore Edna's independence and awakening is by her tragic death. At the end of the novel Edna is very upset Harmon 5 that she loses Robert. There is no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert, but she also realizes that there will be a day where the thought of him would melt out of her existence, leaving her alone (Chopin 581). Edna goes to the sea and for the first time in her life stands naked in the open air. She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that is had never known (Chopin 582). Edna feels that she can not sacrifice herself to the consequences of sexual activity, and she also is not willing to live without these experiences.
Therefore, Edna drowns herself (Allen 72). She realizes nature and man dictate the life of a woman, and to be independent is much harder to obtain for woman than a man (Seyersted 62). In the development of a male novel the reader expects the man to make the stoic choice and in a female novel a women the reader expects the female to come to her senses, returning to the cycle of marriage and motherhood. However, Edna chooses neither, and this is the point of Chopin's novel (Bogarad 161). Another story which Chopin is able to express her attitude toward sexuality is The Storm.
Although The Storm is today considered a well-written short story, Chopin never publishes it in the 1890 s because it is so daring (Kauffmann 62). The Storm, written six years later, is the sequel to the short story At the Canadian Ball (Skaggs 91). The Storm is divided into five scenes. In the first scene the reader finds Calixta's husband, Bobinot, and their son, Bibi, waiting out a storm at Friedheimers store (Chopin 490).
In the second scene Alcee takes shelter at Bobinot's home, where Calixtas is home alone (Chopin 491). In this second scene Chopin uses dialogue to portray a growing sexual desire for one another (Kimbel 108). Chopin describes Calixta's lips as red and moist as pomegranate seed (Chopin 491). She describes their sexual encounter in great detail. Calixtas releases a Harmon 6 generous abundance of her passion, which is like a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached. She also uses the vivid words, he possessed her to describe in great detail the actual sex act (Chopin 492).
No other author of this time uses such language to describe the act of sex (Jones 82). In the third scene the storm is over and Alcee rides off to his destination. Bobinot and Bibi return home to find Calixtas in an unusual good mood. They eat supper and the evening ends in much happiness.
The fourth and fifth scenes reveal a great deal about Alcee and his relationship with his wife, Clarisse. In the fourth scene Alcee writes Clarisse a loving letter telling her not to hurry back, but stay a month longer if she wishes. In the fifth scene Clarisse receives the letter. The reader finds out that Clarisse is charmed upon receiving her husbands letter yet relieved to forgo their intimate conjugal life for a while. The ending proves to be very ironic. Although an affair has taken place, one may expect for them to get caught and the marriages be broken up.
However, the storm had passed and everyone was happy (Chopin 493). Calixta's adulterous experience is accidental and innocent. The affair seems to refresh both marriages, Alcee's and Calixtas. Chopin's theme here again is that freedom nourishes. The Storm is remarkable considering that it is written in the 1890 s and for the use of the controversial language which unites humans in sexual ways. The story reveals Kate Chopin's desire of womens renewal birthright for passionate self-fulfillment (Bogarad 158).
In conclusion, Kate Chopin breaks a new ground in American Literature. She is the first woman writer in the country to express passion as a subject to be taken seriously. She revolts against tradition and authority in order to give Harmon 7 people the realization about womens submerged life. She also is the pioneer of the amoral treatment of sexuality, of divorce, and of womens urge for an existential authenticity (Seyersted 153). In The Awakening and the short story The Storm Chopin implies that sex, even outside marriage can be enjoyable without any personal guilt and without harming others to whom one is emotionally and legally bound (Jones 80).
Furthermore, Chopin is at least a decade ahead of her time and one of the American realists of the 1890 s (Seyersted 153). Although first condemned for her controversial novels and short stories, Kate Chopin, is able to lay the foundation for the theme of womens sexual independence for many authors A Comparison of Hawthorne's Works In both of Hawthorne's short stories and The Scarlet Letter, the author uses distinct symbolisms that have more than one meaning. In The Scarlet Letter, the red rose bush and the weeds located at the entrance of the prison symbolize both good and evil. Throughout the novel, the rose bush represents Pearl, and how good things can come out of bad experiences. Hawthorne suggests the red rose as being some sweet moral blossom, and represents Hester's relationship as a love both good and bad.
Also in The Scarlet Letter, the letter A symbolizes more than one thing. The first and clearest form of the letter is that of Adultery. It is apparent that Hester is guilty of cheating on her husband when she surfaces from the prison with a three-month-old-child in her arms, while her husband has been away for two years. The second form that it takes is Angel.
When Governor Winthrop passes away, a giant A appears in the sky. People from the church feel that, For as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this past night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof! The final form that the scarlet letter take is Able. Hester helped the people of the town so unselfishly that Hawthorne wrote that because such helpfulness was found in her, The people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original significance. They said that it meant Able; So strong was Hester Prynne, with a womans strength. While the letter A is a most complex and misunderstood symbol, Pearl is even more so.
Throughout the story, she develops into a dynamic symbol one that is always changing. Gods treatment of Hester for her sin was quite different than just a physical token: He gave Hester the punishment of bearing a very unique child which she named Pearl. This punishment handed down from God was a constant mental and physical reminder to Hester of what she had done wrong, and she could not escape it. In this aspect, Pearl symbolized Gods way of punishing Hester for adultery. In Hawthorne's short stories, The Ministers Black Veil, in particular, the black veil worn by the minister suggests more than one meaning. It shows sin, darkness, concealment, and death all in one.
Therefore, Hawthorne consistently used symbols that had more than one purpose and meaning for both the novel and the short stories. The mood indicated in The Scarlet Letter and in the short stories is relatively dismal and gloomy, and there is minimal difference between them. In both works, death is included, making it depressing. In The Scarlet Letter, there are love struggles, like that shown between Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale. In the stories, there are some struggles and romance as well.
In Dr. Heideggers Experiment, there were the young men fighting over the young beautiful lady, and in The Ministers Black Veil, there is love between the minister and his fianc? e. Because of his concealment of his sin, she refused to marry him, but nevertheless stood beside him at his deathbed. These present a romantic and lusty mood, and also sadness because of concealment of sin. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a very good author, and tends to write in the same fashion for all of his works.
His details, use of words, and themes come together to make great stories. HTML 1 Documentencodingutf- 8 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus, the main character in most of James Joyce's writings, is said to be a reflection of Joyce himself. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the reader follows Stephen as he develops from a young child into a young artist, overcoming many conflicts both internally and externally, and narrowly escaping a life long commitment to the clergy. Through Joyce's use of free indirect style, all of Stephens speech, actions, and thoughts are filtered through the narrator of the story.
However, since Joyce so strongly identifies with Stephen, his characters style and personality greatly influence the narrator. This use of free indirect style and stylistic contagion makes Joyce's use of descriptive language one of his most valuable tools in accurately depicting Stephen Dedalus developing ideals of feminine beauty. As a very young child Stephen is taught to idealize the Virgin Mary for her purity and holiness. She is described to Stephen as a tower of Ivory and a House of Gold (p. 35). Stephen takes this literally and becomes confused as to how these beautiful elements of ivory and gold could make up a human being. This confusion is important in that it shows Stephens inability to grasp abstraction.
He is a young child who does not yet understand how someone can say one thing and mean something else. This also explains his trouble in the future with solving the riddles and puzzles presented to him by his classmates at Clongowes. Stephen is very thoughtful and observant and looks for his own way to explain or rationalize the things that he does not understand. In this manner he can find those traits that he associates with the Blessed Mary in his protestant playmate Eileen. Her hands are long and white and thin and cold and soft. That was ivory: a cold white thing.
That was the meaning of Tower of Ivory (p. 36). Her fair hair had streamed out behind her like gold in the sun (p. 43). To Stephen that is the meaning of House of Gold. He then attributes Eileen's ivory hands to the fact that she is a girl and generalized these traits to all females. This produces a major conflict for Stephen when his tutor, Dante, tells him not to play with Eileen because she is a Protestant and Protestants dont understand the Catholic faith and therefore will make a mockery of it. His ideas about women being unattainable are confirmed.
The Virgin Mary is divine and therefore out of reach for mortals. Now Eileen, the human representation of the Blessed Mary, is out of reach as well because Stephen is not allowed to play with her. In chapter two an amazing transformation takes place in Stephen from a young innocent child who believes women are unattainable and who idealizes the Virgin Mary, into a young teen with awakening sexual desires. As Stephen matures into adolescence, he becomes increasingly aware of his sexuality, which at times is confusing to him. At the beginning of the second chapter in A Portrait, we find Stephen associating feminine beauty with the heroine Mercedes in Alexander Dumont Peres The Count of Monte Cristo. Outside Blackrock, on the road that led to the mountains, stood a small whitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rosebushes: and in this house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived.
there appeared an image of himself, grown older and sadder, standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years before slighted his love (p. 62 - 3). These fantasies about Mercedes are the first real step for Stephen in challenging the church's view of women, but again he feels as though this image of women is out of his reach. She is a fictional character in a Romantic Adventure novel and he can only imagine himself with her. Although Mercedes may not be real, the feelings that Stephen has and the emotions she provokes in him are very real. As he brooded upon her image, a strange unrest crept into his blood. (p. 64). but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured.
He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment, he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him that magic moment. (p. 65). Stephen realizes that some transformation is going to take place, and Joyce emphasizes the words transfigured and moment to indicate the kind of impact it will have on Stephen. At this point in the novel, Stephen attributes this premonition to his attraction to young Emma Clery. Amid the music and laughter her glance traveled to his corner, flattering, taunting, searching, exciting his heart.
Sprays of her fresh warm breath flew gaily above her cowled head and her shoes tapped blithely on the glassy road. (p. 69). As they wait for the last tram from a Christmas party His heart danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. Joyce carefully uses these words to ease the reader into the transition to sensual imagery to portray females. These words convey Stephens feelings of excitement, and a new conflict arises within him.
He who still believes in the Catholic view of divine women now feels troubled over his growing sexual drives. Stephen realizes that she is flirting with him by the way she urges her vanities yet he is tempted to call her on it. He wants to hold on to her and kiss her and he associates the whole situation with the way in which Eileen had suddenly run down the path in a peal of laughter hoping he would chase her. The conflict within Stephen whether or not to kiss Emma stems from his continuing religious beliefs that women are holy and not to be defiled, and like with Mercedes, he is forced to be content in fulfilling his wishes only in his head. This encounter with Emma does place females at a slightly more attainable level for Stephen and we are able to see how it begins to shape his ultimate ideals of feminine beauty. However connected to the church Stephen feels, it is impossible for him to just push these feelings away from himself and ignore them.
He decides to write a poem about Emma Clery and for the first time, we see Stephen successfully use art as a means of expression and relief. In his poem which is modeled after one from his favorite poet, Byron, he acts out what he wishes he would have done and that is to give Emma a kiss. Again this illustrates a side of Stephen that is not comfortable with abstraction. He has not yet come to the realization that he is not unlike other boys his age. This poem which is addressed to EC, starts out with Ad Majorem Dei Glories, a Latin phrase meaning, For the Greater Glory of God and ends with Laus Deo Semper meaning, Praise to God Always. This is especially interesting because the poem merges both religion and art without Stephens knowledge that this is where the heart of the conflict lies.
It becomes an even greater conflict for Stephen when, as time passes, he finds it more and more difficult to resist the temptations of his sexual urges. He mentally defiles with patience whatever image had attracted his eyes (p. 99) and turns those images which had been innocent by day into cunning and sinful images at night. His urges grow and become so strong that Stephen is no longer able to resist temptation and crosses that line into wretched sinner. The next major step in Stephens transformation is his visit to the prostitute. The setting for this visit carries all of the elements of a Black Mass. Women and girls dressed in long vivid gowns traversed the street The yellow gas flames arose before his troubled vision against the vapour sky, burning as if before an altar. (p. 100).
The long vivid gowns of the women and girls could be like those of the priests and the yellow gas flames are meant to conjure up images of decay upon the altar. As the prostitute approaches Stephen, Joyce uses the word detain to show how the prostitute may have held Stephen against his will. This word becomes significant later on in Stephens discussion with the priest in chapter five as the priest tells Stephen the difference between the traditional use of the word detain and its use in the marketplace. Virgin Mary was detained in the full company of the saints (p. 188) is different from I hope I am not detaining you (p. 188). In this way, Joyce implies that Stephen was seduced by the prostitute and attempted to resist her up until the very last moment before she kissed him. Stephen does not make a move towards the prostitute, but instead waits in the middle of the room until she comes to him.
He will not bend to kiss her. He feels reassured by her embrace and longed for her to just hold and caress him. Perhaps he regarded her as a mother figure and he gained strength from this encounter. Joyce's description of the room, the obscene doll with its legs spread, the way the prostitute lures him in and bends his lips to hers for him gives the reader the impression that Stephen is an innocent and the prostitute is the sinner.
This scene puts a new perspective on that holy image of women for Stephen. It is a sharp contrast to those ideas of holiness and purity and innocent shyness that he associated with Emma, and of course, the Blessed Mary. It is even a contradiction to the image he had of Mercedes. Although this encounter awakens a sense of freedom in Stephen that he will not be able to suppress later on in the novel, he still cannot help but feel overwhelming guilt about what he has done. At the retreat, he listens to Father Arnells sermon about hell that seems to be targeted directly at him, turning his tremendous guilt into fear. He has failed to avoid sin and for that he will suffer the most horrible fate that anyone could ever imagine spending eternity in hell.
He feels so ashamed that he is unable to repent in his own church at Clongowes, but rather wishes to find a place as far removed from the college as possible. This shame and guilt makes him vulnerable when the director at Clongowes confronts him about becoming a priest. He envisions the power he would have and thinks that if he were a priest that his superior piety would save him from the wrath of hell. For him it seemed the only plausible escape. His experience with the prostitute is essential in Stephens reanalysis of his attraction to Emma Clery. He realizes now that her flirtatious gestures were not reserved for him alone, and he suspected that she flaunted her charm to many men.
He becomes angry at the idea that women did not remain pure for their own sake, but only out of their religious fear that their souls would be damned if they sinned against the church. This point seems to be the height of Stephens confusion until his encounter with the Bird Girl, the final step in his complete transfiguration into the artist. While waiting for his father outside the public house, Stephen wandered on to Bull to reflect and to escape the anxiety he felt waiting to hear word about the university. He heard a few of his classmates calling out to him and the sounds of his own name made him think of the mythical Dedalus. Like the myth, Stephen wanted to fly up like a bird. This may be a foreshadowing of Stephens leaving Ireland and flying past the nets which would hold him back.
He feels as though he is being reborn into adulthood and has finally reached that point in his life where he is capable of fulfilling his calling in life. This calling that he feels is unlike anything that has ever spoken to him before and it invokes in him an incredible freedom of spirit. As his mind, body and soul are still soaring from this ecstasy of flight, he repeatedly mentions that he is alone. He is happy and free, but he is alone. Then he sees her. A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea.
She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. (p. 171). The imagery in the following passage and the particular words Joyce uses to present that imagery are very meaningful. The girl is the perfect balance between Stephens two extreme ideas of women. Her thighs, fuller and soft hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hip (p. 171). She is delicate and pure and she has all the qualities of innocent virginity, but at the same time, she exposes her flesh in a sensual manner and exhibits a mortal beauty. Stephens comparison of her to a crane and a dove shows an important relationship between the girl and Stephens freedom.
She was neither virgin nor whore. She was attainable. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him (p. 172).
She certainly seemed divine to Stephen who associated her presence to the calling of a life of art. He knows immediately that if he had been destined to a life in the church that this would have been the kind of calling he should have experienced. Instead he realizes that he cannot become a priest because he is unable to adhere to those physiological restrictions demanding of the profession. He has also discovered that to err is human and to have desires of the flesh is natural.
He is no longer disgusted by human desires and realizes how beautiful love, passion, and devotion can be from an artists perspective. Stephan Dedalus transformation into a priest of the arts is parallel to the early life of James Joyce. Both struggle to deal with the conflicts of childhood and adolescence to find a balance in which they can happily live. Since A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is written in third person, yet employs the characteristics of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, the use of descriptive language is essential to the readers understanding of the novel as a whole. James Joyce excellently uses his talent to successfully communicate Stephens feelings so that we, the reader, can understand the development of his attitudes and ideals about feminine beauty. HTML 1 Documentencodingutf- 8 Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter The common definition says that a symbol is a sign or token of something We take symbols like these pretty much for granted.
They are a part of everyday experience. In literature, matters are a little more complicated. Literary symbols usually dont have instantly recognizable meanings. Rather they take their meanings from the work of which they are part (The Scarlet Letter 8). An example of symbols that most take for granted would be the rosebush, which Hawthorne selects a flower from as an offering to the reader, to the elfish child Pearl, to the scarlet letter A; these are all symbols that Hawthorne uses. The average reader may take it for granted, but each symbol within this novel has a purpose.
Nathaniel Hawthorne uses all of these symbols to build his story, to make it come to life. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is created around the different symbols within the novel. The most obvious symbol of the novel is the one from which the book takes its title, the scarlet letter A. The scarlet letter must be separated from the literary form, in order to find full understanding of the letter. The literary symbol for he scarlet letter is a concrete and an untranslatable presentation of an idea (Weiss 19). The scarlet letter cannot find its way into the real life, except through the meditation of the symbol (Weiss 20).
The scarlet letter is therefore a punishment by the Puritan society's desire to bring for the truth, but it was brought to life by Hester. Hawthorne also lets the scarlet letter take on many other forms. The scarlet letter not only stands for adulteress, but for angel and able. It is also a reminder to both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale of the sins that they have brought upon themselves. The Puritan community is another form that the scarlet letter A symbolizes. The scarlet letter A is a reminder for Hester, Dimmesdale, and the Puritan community of their sins.
For Hester, the scarlet letter represents her sin of adultery. She becomes the scarlet letter, taking the symbol upon herself. She gives up her individuality, she becomes the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and which they might vivify and embody their images of womans frailty and sinful passion (Hawthorne 74). Dimmesdale also becomes letter, just as Hester took it upon herself, he does too. He lets the letter take him over by tattooing it upon his chest. He also lets the scarlet letter engulf him, making him weak and vulnerable.
His weakness is shown when Hester and he meet in the forest, for he immediately agrees to run away and leave his problems behind. For the Puritans the scarlet letter provokes hostile feelings in the citizens of Boston (Scarlet Letter 8). Weiss explains the symbolism of the scarlet letter in the following paragraph: The worlds great symbols, as they emerge in religious icons symbols of rebirth, rejuvenation, resurrection are seen as memorials to the anxieties that attend our biological rhythms. The anxiety is mastered by being displayed to a universal religious, scientific, philosophical, or a meaningful aesthetic experience. The anxiety is mastered by dint of repetitions, by the substitution of controlled rituals, and by condensation into unified and benign experience (Weiss 21).
This shows that the scarlet letter fulfills for the Puritans a social and religious function; the letter creates a story for them to tell and to show the sins that Hester has committed. Another symbol the scarlet letter A takes on is adultery, able, and angel. The scarlet letter stands for adultery because of the crime that Hester committed. Hester committed the crime with Dimmesdale and brought forth a child from it. Hester now has to wear the symbol A upon her chest to represent the crime of adultery.
The scarlet letter stands for able, because after Hester was committed of the crime she helped the citizens in the community. Sorrow awakens her sympathies, so that she becomes a nurse. In fact, the best deeds of Hester's life come about through her fall from grace. Her charity to the poor, her comfort to the broken-hearted, her unquestioned presence in times of trouble are the direct result of her search for repentance (Scarlet Letter 3).
The scarlet letter A also symbolizes angel, because the letter appeared in the sky after the Governor died. The Puritan community took this as a sign from God that the Governor passed on to heaven and became an angel. The gravestone for both Dimmesdale and Hester is seen only by one ever glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow and the light reveals the letter A symbolizing angle. This symbolizes angel, because both Hester and Dimmesdale were united after death and their sins were forgiven (Waggoner 239 - 240). One main symbol in the novel is the struggle between light and darkness, which represents the fight between good and evil. The rose bush is an example of a symbol for the struggle between light and darkness.
The Scarlet Letter was suppose to have a happy conclusion and that is what the rose bush by the prison was suppose to symbolize in the first chapter. Instead, the rose just added light to Hawthorne's dark tale. The forest scene in the novel is another example of the fight between darkness and light. The forest scenes showed the hardships that Hester had to face every day, such as when she reaches into the light and it moves away from her hand: Mother, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom.
Now see! There it is, playing a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child.
It will not flee from me, for I wear no thing on my bosom yet! (Hawthorne 192). This scene suggests that she will never be welcome in the light and that she must stay in the forest where it is dark. Lightness also takes on another form for Hester, she is both dark and light. The light will not accept her, but in her own way she is light, explained in this passage: Hester tries to subdue her spirit and sensuality, hiding it all beneath a sad cap. But she cant do it. One breath of fresh air, one ray of sunlight, one moment alone with her lover in the forest, and she is herself again, reaching passionately for a life of freedom and fulfillment (Scarlet Letter 3).
This shows how she has turned towards darkness. She has become able, giving her help to those in the Puritan community; yet, with one moment alone with Dimmesdale and she lost everything that she strived for. This shows another struggle between light and darkness. Another symbol that leads to the struggle between light and darkness is the way Hester and Dimmesdale hide their love for each other.
Hawthorne uses Hester and Dimmesdale to symbolize the conflict between the desire to confess and the necessity of self-concealment (Crews). The forest scenes and the scaffold scenes are examples of the struggle for Hester and Dimmesdale. When the two meet in the forest and the scaffold, it proves that they can never show their love to each other in public. Their sin has become so great that is has created a different world for them, forcing them to meet in the darkness of the shadows. The way Hester and Dimmesdale plan their escape is another example of the struggle between light and darkness.
They meet in the darkness of the forest shows that their escape is bound to fail. There is a storm over them and shadows upon them, showing that they cannot get away from their sins. This is proved when Dimmesdale turn himself in at the scaffold, because no matter how hard he tries he can not get away for his sins. Hester Prynne is another symbol within the novel, she symbolizes the heroine of the novel.
Hester stands up for herself and for what she believes. She is a woman fighting for her natural rights and freedoms. Compared to the tight-mouthed Puritans she is a true woman. She knows that she has committed a crime and has accepted it and learned to live with it.
Hester has even tried to relieve herself of the sin by doing good deeds for the Puritan society, although they have treated her with such disrespect, knowing that they will never truly accept her. A symbol is shown in Hester's dress on the day she stand for the first time on the pillory: The young woman the mother on the child stood fully revealed before the crowd, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smiles, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her towns people and neighbors. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it has all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony (Hawthorne 57).
The symbol that this creates is one that she creates for herself, it expresses her desire and individuality. Dimmesdale symbolizes the coward in the story as well as the hypocrite. Dimmesdale continues to try to make peace with God, although he never will. Dimmesdale cannot make peace with God for one simple fact, he does not know how to do so. He not only does not know how to, he does not care if he lives or dies, and by the end of the novel he is so weak he can barely lift himself. The sin has engulfed him into a void that he does not know how to leave.
When he meets Hester in the forest, he sees it as a way out. He is so weak and willing to try anything that he accepts Hester's plan without much hesitation. Yet, being the hypocrite that he is, he turns around and confesses everything at the scaffold. Pearl is another main symbol that the novel is built around.
Pearl symbolizes Hawthorne's first child, Una. Pearl symbolizes Una because she was actually modeled after her. Pearl also represents the idea that the full acceptance of responsibility for sin is better then denying it. Accepting the consequences fully is also better that ignoring this responsibility altogether or even accepting it halfway.
Hester accepted the responsibility for her sin, which was Pearl. In fact, Pearl was not only Hester's responsibility, but her gift. Pearl was indeed Hester's pearl. Pearl was a treasure that Hester paid for greatly, and took the consequences. Hester paid by giving her life up for Pearl, she lost everything she ever had or could have gained in the Puritan society.
The Puritans cast Hester away, making her an outsider for the community. More importantly, Pearl symbolizes the scarlet letter A and the fate of Hester. Pearl looks very much like the scarlet letter. When Pearl is first introduced she is dressed in crimson and gold, just like the A that Hester wears upon her chest. Pearl continually reminds Hester of her sin. Pearl reminds Hester so much of her sin, because of the fact that she dresses her like the letter.
Hester also is reminded of her sin by Pearl because of her childlike wonder of the letter; Pearl is always asking why her mother wears the letter upon her chest, and why she cannot wear one. Not only does Peal represent the scarlet letter, but she also symbolizes fate. In the forest scene, she tells her mother to go and pick up her own letter, pointing to it. Fate also points its finger at the letter saying that she must live with the sin that she has committed. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written around the symbols in the novel itself. Each symbol had an effect within the novel that should not be taken for granted.
The symbols in the novel are not just signs or tokens of something. They are in fact the meaning from the work of which they are part. Hawthorne uses double meanings for every symbol within the novel, leaving the final definition of the symbols entirely up to the reader (The Scarlet Letter 8) HTML 1 Documentencodingutf- 8 The House Of The Seven Gables. The story of The House Of The Seven Gables stretches over two centuries.
Its the classic scenario of two rival families, in this case the Pyncheon's (weather aristocratic puritans) and the Maule's (humbler paupers). The story of these two families begins with Matthew Maule, who owned a certain amount of land and built himself a hut to live in, in this new puritan settlement. Maule was a hard working but obscure man, who was stubborn and protected what was his. His rival arrived at the settlement about 30 to 40 years after Maule had been there. Colonel Pyncheon, an ambitious and determined man, had a high position in the town. It was said that Colonel Pyncheon was very much for the execution of those who practiced witchcraft, and it was also said that he very strongly sought the condemnation of Matthew Maule for being a wizard.
Pyncheon did manage to have Maule executed but not before Maule placed a curse on Pyncheon and his descendants. These were Maule's exact words: God, God will give him blood to drink! Many of the characters in the book were influenced by actual people in and during Nathanials life. For example: Colonel Pyncheon was based on The Reverend Wentworth Upham, a Minister and mayor of Salem. He wrote the books: Lectures on With craft and History of Witchcraft and Salem Village. The Maule name was derived from Thomas Maule, a Quaker merchant living in Salem at the time of the trials.
In Nathanials American Notebooks he records that his great great grandfather Judge Hawthorne, the judge in the witch trials, injured a neighbor named English once, who never forgave him. Yet English's daughter married Hawthorne son. In the same way, the descendants of the Pyncheon's and the Maule's finally unite in marriage at the end of the story. The Pyncheon and the Maule who get married at the end are Phoebe and Holgrave.
Phoebe is a smiling, public young woman. Holgrave is a kind artist (daguerreotypes) and is also the last defendant of Thomas Maule (this is revealed at the end of the story). It is believed that his cousin, Susannah Ingersoll, was who he had in mind when creating the character of Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon. There is also evidence that Hawthorne had himself in mind when creating the character of Holgrave, and of his wife, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, when creating Phoebe. (Include other examples of the evidence that suggests this) Ever since Hawthorne decided to become a writer he was determined to be a success. He wrote for many years but none of his publications drew the attention Hawthorne wanted.
At the time he wrote the House of the Seven Gables, he had just finished with The Scarlett Letter which had won him much fame. At this time Hawthorne was preoccupied with his worth in Americas literary marketplace. He promised his publishers and friends that his next book would have a prosperous close, which meant something along the lines of a happy ending which did not come naturally to Hawthorne. He found himself in a tight spot when trying to end the book, which took him several months to write. I believe it did the story more harm than good, because while reading the final chapter, The Departure, it felt as though the seriousness and many of the true significances of parts of the story werent there anymore. As though he just ended the story that way to please the audience (with a happy ending, everyone becomes rich and moves onto a country house, Holgrave and Phoebe get married, and the bad guy Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon just dies. ).
Hawthorne was a very insightful, yet confusing man. Some would even say hypocritical because he would criticize or claim something and in the end, praise what he criticized and claim the opposite of what he originally said. I, on the other hand wouldnt say he was a hypocrite, rather he was mysterious, not letting anyone know his true intentions but just letting them interpret things their own way. He incorporated this into much of his writing, also. In The House Of The Seven Gables Hawthorne gives us alot of details and symbols but he never really tells us what they mean, leaving them to our own interpretations. HTML 1 Documentencodingutf- 8 Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story that is thick with allegory.
Young Goodman Brown is a moral story which is told through the perversion of a religious leader. In Young Goodman Brown, Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. Young Goodman Brown begins when Faith, Browns wife, asks him not to go on an errand. Goodman Brown says to his love and (my) Faith that this one night I must tarry away from thee.
When he says his love and his Faith, he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his faith to God. He is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. He resolves that he will cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven. This is an example of the excessive pride because he feels that he can sin and meet with the Devil because of this promise that he made to himself.
There is a tremendous irony to this promise because when Goodman Brown comes back at dawn; he can no longer look at his wife with the same faith he had before. When Goodman Brown finally meets with the Devil, he declares that the reason he was late was because Faith kept me back awhile. This statement has a double meaning because his wife physically prevented him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but his faith to God psychologically delayed his meeting with the devil. The Devil had with him a staff that bore the likeness of a great black snake. The staff which looked like a snake is a reference to the snake in the story of Adam and Eve.
The snake led Adam and Eve to their destruction by leading them to the Tree of Knowledge. The Adam and Eve story is similar to Goodman Brown in that they are both seeking unfathomable amounts of knowledge. Once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge they were expelled from their paradise. The Devils staff eventually leads Goodman Brown to the Devils ceremony which destroys Goodman Browns faith in his fellow man, therefore expelling him from his utopia.
Goodman Brown almost immediately declares that he kept his meeting with the Devil and no longer wishes to continue on his errand with the Devil. He says that he comes from a race of honest men and good Christians and that his father had never gone on this errand and nor will he. The Devil is quick to point out however that he was with his father and grandfather when they were flogging a woman or burning an Indian village, respectively. These acts are ironic in that they were bad deeds done in the name of good, and it shows that he does not come from good Christians. When Goodman Browns first excuse not to carry on with the errand proves to be unconvincing, he says he cant go because of his wife, Faith. And because of her, he can not carry out the errand any further.
At this point the Devil agrees with him and tells him to turn back to prevent that Faith should come to any harm like the old woman in front of them on the path. Ironically, Goodman Browns faith is harmed because the woman on the path is the woman who taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser. The Devil and the woman talk and afterward, Brown continues to walk on with the Devil in the disbelief of what he had just witnessed. Ironically, he blames the woman for consorting with the Devil but his own pride stops him from realizing that his faults are the same as the womans. Brown again decides that he will no longer to continue on his errand and rationalizes that just because his teacher was not going to heaven, why should he quit my dear Faith, and go after her. At this, the Devil tosses Goodman Brown his staff (which will lead him out of his Eden) and leaves him.
Goodman Brown begins to think to himself about his situation and his pride in himself begins to build. He applauds himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet his minister And what calm sleep would be his the arms of Faith! This is ironic because at the end of the story, he can not even look Faith in the eye, let alone sleep in her arms. As Goodman Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin.
He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss a goodly young woman to be taken in to communion that evening at that nights meeting and fears that it may be his Faith. When Goodman Brown hears this he becomes weak and falls to the ground. He begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him and this is a key point when Goodman Browns faith begins to wain. Goodman Brown in panic declares that With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!
Again, Brown makes a promise to keep his faith unto God. Then a black mass of cloud goes in between Brown and the sky as if to block his prayer from heaven. Brown then hears what he believed to be voices that he has before in the community. Once Goodman Brown begins to doubt whether this is really what he had heard or not, the sound comes to him again and this time it is followed by one voice, of a young woman. Goodman believes this is Faith and he yells out her name only to be mimicked by the echoes of the forest, as if his calls to Faith were falling on deaf ears. A pink ribbon flies through the air and Goodman grabs it.
At this moment, he has lost all faith in the world and declares that there is no good on earth. Young Goodman Brown in this scene is easily manipulated simply by the power of suggestion. The suggestion that the woman in question is his Faith, and because of this, he easily loses his faith. Goodman Brown then loses all of his inhibitions and begins to laugh insanely.
He takes hold of the staff which causes him to seem to fly along the forest-path. This image alludes to that of Adam and Eve being led out of the Garden of Eden as is Goodman Brown being led out of his utopia by the Devils snakelike staff. Hawthorne at this point remarks about the instinct that guides mortal man to evil. This is a direct statement from the author that he believes that mans natural inclination is to lean to evil than good. Goodman Brown had at this point lost his faith in God, therefore there was nothing restraining his instincts from moving towards evil because he had been lead out from his utopian image of society. At this point, Goodman Brown goes mad and challenges evil.
He feels that he will be the downfall of evil and that he is strong enough to overcome it all. This is another demonstration of Browns excessive pride and arrogance. He believes that he is better than everyone else in that he alone can destroy evil. Brown then comes upon the ceremony which is setup like a perverted Puritan temple. The altar was a rock in the middle of the congregation and there were four trees surrounding the congregation with their tops ablaze, like candles. A red light rose and fell over the congregation which cast a veil of evil over the congregation over the devil worshippers.
Brown starts to take notice of the faces that he sees in the service and he recognizes them all, but he then realizes that he does not see Faith and hope came into his heart. This is the first time that the word hope ever comes into the story and it is because this is the true turning point for Goodman Brown. If Faith was not there, as he had hoped, he would not have to live alone in his community of heathens, which he does not realize that he is already apart of. Another way that the hope could be looked at is that it is all one of the Christian triptych. (Capps 25) The third part of the triptych which is never mentioned throughout the story is charity.
If Brown had had charity it would have been the antidote that would have allowed him to survive without despair the informed state in which he returned to Salem. (Camps 25) The ceremony then begins with a a cry to Bring forth the converts! Surprisingly Goodman Brown steps forward. He had no power to retreat one step, nor to resist, even in thought. Goodman Brown at this point seems to be in a trance and he loses control of his body as he is unconsciously entering this service of converts to the devil. The leader of the service than addresses the crowd of converts in a disturbing manner. He informs them that all the members of the congregation are the righteous, honest, and incorruptible of the community.
The sermon leader then informs the crowd of their leaders evil deeds such as attempted murder of the spouse and wife, adultery, and obvious blasphemy. After his sermon, the leader informs them to look upon each other and Goodman Brown finds himself face to face with Faith. The leader begins up again declaring that Evil is the nature of mankind and he welcomes the converts to communion of your race. (The communion of your race statement reflects to the irony of Browns earlier statement that he comes from a race of honest men and good Christians. ) The leader than dips his hand in the rock to draw a liquid from it and to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads. Brown
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