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An Analysis of the Scarlet Letter as a Romance

Author: WuSen
Tutor: ZhaoXiuFu
School: Shandong University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: The Scarlet Letter romance symbolism psychological analysis ambiguity
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 912
Quote: 1
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This thesis is an analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece The Scarlet Letter as a romance. Nathaniel Hawthorne started writing The Scarlet Letter in 1847 and it was published in 1850. The Scarlet Letter is recognized as being one of the greatest of American novels.Although commonly called a novel. The Scarlet Letter is actually a romance. But Hawthorne’s romance, as a new literary form, is not only different from the realistic novels but also from the traditional romantic writings. Hawthorn created his own individual style of romance. His romance lays emphasis on its imaginary quality in exposing the inner world of human. At the time when Hawthorne was writing The Scarlet Letter, novels were supposed to deal with realistic representations of human experiences or external truths. Hawthorne’s romances, on the other hand, were concerned with internal truths, or "truths of the human heart". Hawthorne’s romance, therefore, allowed the author to deviate from reality in favor of imagination.Hawthorne’s romance, moreover, is distinguished for its artistry use of two outstanding writing devices: symbolism and psychological analysis, which forms the distinct uniqueness of Hawthorne’s romance. Hawthorne demonstrates his creating genius in composing the Scarlet Letter with the use of these two dominant devices of symbolism and psychological analysis. Symbolism and psychological analysis play a very important part in Hawthorne’s romances. These two writing devices, together with other factors, have formed another unusual style of ambiguity in Hawthorne’s romance, which can be found in the themes, characterization and settings of his romance. Hawthorne was deeply affected by three systems of thoughts: Puritanism, Transcendentalism and Mysticism. And due to his Puritan family background and his own special life experience, Hawthorne showed a skeptical and tragic view of life in confrontation with reality, which formed his suspicious attitude toward the world and also made his romance betray an outstanding style —ambiguity.This thesis focuses on the artistic and unique use of symbolism and psychological analysis in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as romance, also on the

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