Class Notes (839,092)
Canada (511,185)
English (1,425)
ENG250Y1 (110)
Tony Fong (25)
Lecture

ENG250Y1 - N. Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter - Lecture Notes.docx

5 Pages
115 Views

Department
English
Course Code
ENG250Y1
Professor
Tony Fong

This preview shows pages 1 and half of page 2. Sign up to view the full 5 pages of the document.
Description
ENG250Y1 – LECTURE NOTES October 21, 2013 Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlett Letter Reflection Questions: 1) Does the novel privilege secrecy or confession? 2) Who is the narrator of The Scarlet Letter? Is he/she reliable? 3) What is the significance of setting the novel in Puritan America? The Custom House:  Prior to the 1960s, critics argued that the introductory essay was pointless, but since then, critics say that it's essential to understanding the novel  Hawthrone defines his novel as a romance in this essay; its not about capturing reality but what is heightened; preference of allegories  Genre is between myth and meiosis  "moonlight in a familiar room … very object … all these details so completely seem … become things of intellect … nature of the other" o Describes the events of the world in terms of moonlight o "familiar" refers to the quotidian o Becomes slightly threatening too because the room takes on a form of remoteness o Between the real and fairy world o Therefore this novel has familiar and unfamiliar apsects The Notion of the Scarlet Letter:  The "A"'s meaning shifts  Almost a riddle, being deliberately vague, is something but then isn't something  Stands for adulterer  Stands for able: o Hester helps others with her charity o Those she helps sees her then differently  Stands for angel: o When Winthrop dies o Hester sees herself as the protector of Dimmesdale  Stands for artistry o "she possessed an art"; refers to when he sewed the letter onto her clothing o A stand-in for Hawthorne o Gives things an ethereal quality o Expresses herself through the needle to transform what it represents or expresses  Stands for ambiguity o Undermining the authoritative power by transforming the letter's meaning through her art o She uses gold threading to surround the letter, adds her own spin to her punishment o Anne Hutchinson is associated with Hester o Both are identified through their refusal of authority Salem Witches:  Biblical reference in Genesis  1692, girls accused a handful of women of being witches o 156 were accused during this period o Witches were blamed for many things such as physical aliments and dying livestock, anything unknown  There was a notion that witches had to sign their name in blood in a devil's book to help fight in the war against God  Is mentioned in the novel when Pearl discusses the "Black Man" o Even though Hester is an adulterer, she is now associated with witchcraft  Hester refuses to be a part of the community o Chapter 13 "standing alone in the world … knocking on the door" o Hester lives in a cottage outside of the village, she is outside of the scope of the law o Her mindset is separate from the law o Even though she is stigmatized what is more threatening is her freedom, her refusal to be stigmatized  Woman would confess in error  Her alienation ironically bestows her freedom that authority didn't want her to have  To change something theoretically is more important than the physically doing so; paradoxically, doing so theoretically is more real than changing something physically "Shadowy Guest":  Alludes to the elusive guests in the Custom House  Puts Hester in the same light as Hawthorne  Therefore she is punished not because she is a cheater, but because she is compelled to not obey  She is taught this via solitude  Relates to "Self-Reliance", sees herself in nature  Through her art, she is able to change society and that is what is threatening  She is purposefully not repentant of her action  She adorns the letter "A"  The novel starts in a prison and moves towards the marketplace; in prison, evil is present; in the marketplace, evil dissipates  the pact she makes with her husband is associated to the pact with the devil  The names of the characters reflect you they are  Hester keeps wearing the letter because it's associated with her daughter; without it, her daughter is free  Could also wear it to finally atone for her sin  The letter could also be a part of her identity  The letter represents all the things about her, good and bad  Could also be the re-appropriation of the attributes that have negative connotations Nature:  Associated with freedom, laws associated with chains  "Hester's intellect and heart had their home in desert places … taught her much amiss" o Though the solitude taught her much, it also led her astray o The narrator does this to refuse telling the reader whether she is good or bad o "amiss" means not getting the point; Hester does not get the point that society wants to chain her, that she broke the human laws o Ambivalent Truth: truth, authority truth, and individual truth  Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are both allegorical o Dimmesdale focuses on passion, Chillingworth focuses on knowledge o Both wrestle for truth o Live beside a cemetery  Dimmesdale is a hypocrite and Chillingworth becomes vengeful, therefore truth is constricting  Therefore individual truth is favored  Pearl is associated with nature  Pearl's eccentricities give her the power to follow her intuition  Pearl is both narcissistic (the scene when she looks at her reflection in the river) and self- reliant, follows her own truths Foucault and Confession:  The obligation to confess is now relayed through so many different points, is so deeply ingrained in us, that we no longer perceive it as the effect of a power that constrains us; on the contrary, it seems to us that truth, lodged in our most secret nature ‘demands’ only to surface; that if it fails to do so, this is because a constraint holds it in place, the violence of a power weighs i
More Less
Unlock Document

Only pages 1 and half of page 2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Unlock Document
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Unlock Document

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit