Contemporary Perspectives on Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Title

The Scarlet Letter and Novel Structure

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

English - Creative Writing

Minor

History

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Gina Claywell, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

The Scarlet Letter and Novel Structure” examines Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of narrative role and conflict in The Scarlet Letter. To start, the paper examines the novel’s opening chapter “The Custom-House” as a device utilized by Hawthorne to establish a narrator-reader relationship early in the work, and how this allows Hawthorne to influence the reader’s interpretations of the novel’s main trio: Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. The paper then moves on to examine the utilization of conflict throughout the novel, which is structured in a unique way, when compared to other novels of the time, thanks to Hawthorne’s strong ability as a short story writer. Given the structure of Hawthorne’s romance, the reader sees conflict develop at three levels: the chapter, the act, and the novel as a whole. Lastly, the paper examines how Hawthorne employs the narrative technique of delay to multiply this conflict in the novel.

Location

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Affiliations

Contemporary Perspectives on Hawthorne

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Nov 14th, 1:30 PM Nov 14th, 3:00 PM

The Scarlet Letter and Novel Structure

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

The Scarlet Letter and Novel Structure” examines Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of narrative role and conflict in The Scarlet Letter. To start, the paper examines the novel’s opening chapter “The Custom-House” as a device utilized by Hawthorne to establish a narrator-reader relationship early in the work, and how this allows Hawthorne to influence the reader’s interpretations of the novel’s main trio: Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. The paper then moves on to examine the utilization of conflict throughout the novel, which is structured in a unique way, when compared to other novels of the time, thanks to Hawthorne’s strong ability as a short story writer. Given the structure of Hawthorne’s romance, the reader sees conflict develop at three levels: the chapter, the act, and the novel as a whole. Lastly, the paper examines how Hawthorne employs the narrative technique of delay to multiply this conflict in the novel.