Rhetorical Devices In The Scarlet Letter

743 words - 3 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 17th century. The novel addresses the moral dilemmas of personal responsibility in the lives of its characters. With literary techniques Hawthorne works into his romanticized fiction a place of special meaning for nature. He uses the rhetorical skills of Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne throughout the novel to help reveal the true colors of his characters and rhetorical devices such as figurative language as in the personification of nature to give his work a strong narrative voice.
While it is evident Dimmesdale has great rhetorical skills, Hester Prynne’s exquisite play on words is more subtle but ...view middle of the document...

“Nature imagery” as a possibility for added perspective is commonly overlooked by contemporary “critical theories of narrative technique” (Daniel 1). This imagery allows the author to reveal his underlying message with authorial comments. Instead of looking for an elusive presence in his writings, Hawthorne uses the voice of personified nature take on this role. Pearl, who is not accepted in the Puritan community, is welcomed into “nature’s community by personified sunshine which is glad of such a playmate” (2). The juxtaposition of the two communities, nature and humankind, allow Hawthorne to form “parallel entities, with personification of nature becoming the narrative voice which establishes this situation” and brings them together (3).
Looking more in depth of the factions of communities, Hawthorne also made a conscious decision to split the human community by way of figurative language. He forms two separate divisions in Puritan society, “the macrocosm of the Puritans of Boston and the microcosm of the alienated characters” (3). This division is representative in the children of Boston, who learn to form this barrier between themselves and the pair of outcasts. Hawthorne personifies nature in the same way “which is likewise present but...

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