The Scarlet Letter: Chapters I-VI: Analysis
- Date:Jan 15, 2021
- Category:The Scarlet Letter
To begin with, it is important to state that ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the most addictive books that I have ever read. From a personal perspective, I have never been intrigued by books that have romance as the main theme and in the same regard, books that were written longer than 15 years ago have not interested me a lot. However, after reading the first few chapters of this book, I started to realize how much I have been missing out on. I was so intertwined with the plot of the reading that I had to finish it and reread it again. For the purpose of this essay, I will provide a detailed notebook review and reflection on the first six chapters of this book.
Chapter one and two of this book were the most awkward chapters to get through in this book. The first chapter is mainly about the prison with the rose bush in front. This rose bush, in my opinion, is representative of the entire book in so many ways. For instance, it acts as a symbol of hope and beauty despite the darkness that is evident in the plot. After completing the book, I also realized that the rose bush in this chapter was a foreshadow for what would happen in the future of Hester Prynne (Hawthorne 52). The reason why these two chapters were the most awkward to get through was because of what happens as Hester walks out of prison. As she walks out of prison hand in hand with her lover, she is met by stares and comments that are hurtful, degrading, and mocking. This is all because of the scarlet letter that is on her wardrobe, meaning that she is an adulterer. These comments and mockery make it awkward and bothering because I do not believe in condemning and judging somebody because of their past mistakes. These chapters, therefore, came out as awkward and bothering, but that may due to the fact that we live in a different generation now.
The third and fourth chapters of this book revived the interest and intrigue in the book due to the twist in the plot that occurred. As Hester walks out of prison, the first person she sees in the crowd is the man that she had married. In the beginning, it is not clear who this man is since the author just calls him a stranger (Hawthorne 67). This aspect used by the author creates suspense and makes the reader read even more in order to understand what is going on. The ‘stranger’, who is the man that Hester had married, pretends to ask one townsman the crimes that had been leveled against her. He is told that she had married a learned foreigner and committed adultery and thus the baby that she was holding in hand. Hester had also refused to reveal who the father of her son was. Another aspect that makes these two chapters very interesting is the tension that can be felt when Hester comes face to face with this ‘stranger’. The tension in this part is that when these two individuals meet, her husband offers her medicine, but she declines to take it. This is because she thinks that she is trying to poison her. However, her husband, her no intention of poisoning her because she needs her to be alive so that he can carry out his revenger when she is alive. This aspect is one of the most interesting in the entire book as it introduces a plot twist coupled with tension and anxiety of what is to happen in the next chapters.
Chapters five and six give an insight into the relationship between mother and daughter. The complexity of this relationship is what makes these two chapters very catchy. When Hester is released from prison, she is given an option to leave the city, but she chooses to stay. However, this choice she makes is difficult as she is labeled an outcast and has to rent a cabin alone and live with her daughter. The only way that she can make a living is through making clothes; she is very good with the needle (Hawthorne 104). Pearl, the daughter, in my opinion, is portrayed as a beautiful flower that has sprouted out of barren or dirty soil. Her name is also symbolic due to the fact that she was the only treasure that belonged to Hester, and also she was raised with all that she had. Pearl is also very similar to her mother in that she is a passionate and defiant girl and moody at times. As such, the similarity between the mother and the child is shown in that they are both outcasts of society. She is condemned and insulted by being called names such as imp of evil and also a demon child. As she grows up, she is insistent on knowing what the letters on her mother’s wardrobe mean, which is a sign that she is very smart. These aspects of these chapters show that the relationship between Hester and her daughter is complex as they are very similar and at the same time very different. In the same regard, these chapters show the growth and development of Pearl and thus leaving the reader in suspense, especially regarding her insistence on knowing the origin of the letters.