To the Puritans, the "A" was an unambiguous emblem signifying adultery, but Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter invests the letter with a series of possible alternative meanings.
In an essay (450-500 words), discuss the Puritan’s literal use of the “A” and the significance it had in Puritan religion. Also, name two alternate meanings of the "A" and explain what Hawthorne implies in presenting differing meanings. Be sure to provide evidence from the text to support your explanations.
Prepare this assignment according to the MLA guidelines found in the MLA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
Answer the following two questions. Each questions response should be 150 words and use one reference.
Consider the following themes, motifs, and symbols present within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece The Scarlet Letter: the nature of evil, the role of sin, guilt in public versus private life, revenge, night and day, civilization and the wilderness, Pearl, the meteor, isolation and community. Select one or more of these and explain how Hawthorne draws out this theme, motif, or symbol in the novel.In addition to many great Romantic texts, the mid-nineteenth century saw the rise of literary criticism. Consider Poe and Melville's critical essays. What do they think makes a good story? How do their stories “The Fall of the House of Usher,” The Black Cat,” and “Bartleby, the Scrivener” hold up under their own criteria? What makes literary criticism like this significant to the study of literature as an academic discipline?
For these two questions you must cite from the following:
- "Edgar Allan Poe," “The Fall of the House of Usher,” "The Black Cat,” “The Philosophy of Composition,” and From The Poetic Principle"
- "Nathaniel Hawthorne" and "The Scarlet Letter"
- "Herman Melville," “Hawthorne and his Mosses,” and “Bartleby, the Scrivener”
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