The writer’s sensory description, usually focused on the visual. Consider diction (vocabulary & degree of difficulty, complexity, etc.) and selection of detail. What does the writer want you to notice?
“there came a glare of red light out of his eyes; as if the old man’s soul were on fire, and kept on smouldering duskily within his breast” (155)
“A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women… were assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes” (45).
“Perceiving a flock of beach-birds, that fed and fluttered along the shore, the naughty child picked up her apron full of pebbles, and, creeping from rock to rock after these small sea-fowl [began] pelting them” (162).
Includes apostrophe, hyperbole, metaphor, oxymoron, paradox, personification, simile, and understatement, often used to associate or compare dissimilar things, supplements and modifies the literal meanings of concepts
“His moral force was abased into more than childish weakness. It grovelled helpless on the ground” (146).
A statement that seems self-contradictory or nonsensical on the surface, but may be seen to contain an underlying truth. Can be seen as ironic.
“The infant was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden” (82)
A contradiction or incongruity between appearance and expectation or reality. A discrepancy may exist between what someone says and what s/he means, what someone expects to happen and what really does happen, or between what appears to be true and what actually is true.
Dimmesdale’s attempt at categorizing himself as a sinner, and the people’s reverent response
The various means by which an author describes and develops the characters in a literary work
“the little Puritans, being the most intolerant brood that ever lived” (162).
“’Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter; and of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!’” (90).
Point of View:
Limited: usually recounts the story through the eyes of a single character; reader is privy to the inner thoughts and feelings of a “limited” number of characters
Omniscient: able to recount the action thoroughly and reliably, and able to enter the mind of any character at any time; can conceal as well as reveal at will.
“if we suppose this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins and Hester Prynne to be authentic” (108).
“It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom…” (46).
Themes & Argument:
Consider questions, rather than answers.
Psychological novel – What aspects of human nature does Hawthorne focus on? What is he arguing?
Focus on how the use of a technique enhances his argument – makes it more clear, persuasive, etc.
“this beautiful woman, so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom,… [appeared to be an] image of Divine Maternity,… something which should remind… [one] of that sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world” (53).
using character or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning. The allegorical meaning usually deals with moral truth or generalization about human existence.
“He had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister … was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back” (136).
“there seemed to be no longer anything in Hester’s face for Love to dwell upon; nothing in Hester’s form… that Passion would ever dream of clasping in her embrace…” (150).
Something that, although of interest in its own right, stands for or suggests something larger and more complex