Lenhart 1 Livy Lenhart Mrs. Moose AP English 6 December 2018 The Scarlet Letter Rhetorical Analysis In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a compelling story that utilizes complex rhetorical strategies to help convey his message that a person’s actions as well as their intentions will have significant consequences. The story takes place in a Puritan society where sin was despised and viewed as contemptuous. In chapter 18, “A Flood of Sunshine,” Hawthorne alternates discussion of each character to encourage the reader to compare and contrast the characters’ perspectives. Additionally, he uses symbolism to deepen the characterization of each characters’ true intentions, beliefs, and actions. Finally, Hawthorne uses vivid diction to emphasize important themes and events. Chapter 18, “A Flood of Sunshine,” outlines the perspective of the main characters, Hester and Dimmesdale, in time where guilt and shame were publically despised. The main character Hester was publicly shamed for a mistake that she made in her private life, and as a result had to live as a testimony to the consequences of her sin. Dimmesdale, the guilty minister who was responsible for Hester’s pregnancy, had to live with a different kind of guilt and shame- one that was internal and hidden to the rest of society. Hawthorne alternates the discussion of these two characters to compare and contrast the different kinds of pain they were experiencing. Hester and Dimmesdale dealt with their pain in ways that- they thought- would redeem their sin or perhaps make them look better in God’s eyes. Hawthorne contrasts the pain that Hester and
2 Dimmesdale experience, and the ways they deal with it, in hopes that the reader will realize that Hester and Dimmesdale’s attempt at getting redeemed prove to do more harm than good.