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Deep Reading; The Scarlet Leader

The paragraph that I have analyzed from the “Scarlet Letter”, is found on page 485, at the bottom of the page. It begins with, “ While this passed, Hester Prynne had been standing on her pedestal, still with a fixed gaze towards the stranger;” ( Hawthorne, 482). This paragraph immediately intrigued me because of the figurative language, and how accurately the writer got the emotion of comfort that Hester Prynne received in her worst moments from the stranger, “ she was conscience of a shelter in the presence of these thousand witnesses ( 482).” This imagery is portrayed beautifully, as the reader almost feels like they are Hester, and surrounded by millions of witnesses and judges, at the peak of emotional breakdown and despair, and feeling a sudden comfort in one person. It is also showed how this stranger greatly stood out from a crowd of hundreds, and one person could block out the entire world. Here, it can be concluded how greatly Hester was desiring comfort, as well as how long it had been since she had last felt any. Also, the term “ sin-born” infant and the “ token of infamy on her breast” allows the reader to feel the love yet resentment that Hester has for her child, nurtured by fear and pity, and we can picture the emblem, almost burning on her chest, as a sign of shame. Therefore, this passage renders the image, and overwhelming emotions that is felt at Hester’s time of humiliation and grief, and the beauty of comfort and safety.

 

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