My fellow—officers, and the merchants and sea—captains with whom my official duties brought me into any manner of connection, viewed me in no other light, and probably knew me in no other character. Pearl is considered devilish not only for being a product of the sin, but for her unusual character as well. Many considered her an angel, but there were people who found her nosy. He was, in truth, a rare phenomenon; so perfect, in one point of view; so shallow, so delusive, so impalpable such an absolute nonentity, in every other. So brief a journey would bring thee from a world where thou hast been most wretched, to one where thou mayest still be happy! In this preface, Hawthorne also shares his definition of the romance novel as he attempts to imagine Hester Prynne's story beyond Pue's manuscript account.
The wiser effort would have been to diffuse thought and imagination through the opaque substance of to—day, and thus to make it a bright transparency; to spiritualise the burden that began to weigh so heavily; to seek, resolutely, the true and indestructible value that lay hidden in the petty and wearisome incidents, and ordinary characters with which I was now conversant. Dimmesdale , whereas the mark she mentions is the scarlet letter on her chest. Representing herself as a rose bush, readers learn that, although represented as a weird and devilish child, Pearl is actually on the side of good. . Inside a particular bundle of papers, he finds the private writings of , a Custom House surveyor who died suddenly many years ago. So much for my figurative self.
After a lengthy examination of the characters above, the Narrator begins to describe the unused second floor of the Custom House, which houses long-forgotten records and papers. More frequently, however, on ascending the steps, you would discern—in the entry if it were summer time, or in their appropriate rooms if wintry or inclement weathers row of venerable figures, sitting in old—fashioned chairs, which were tipped on their hind legs back against the wall. It is against the comment of the narrator. Another figure in the scene is the outward—bound sailor, in quest of a protection; or the recently arrived one, pale and feeble, seeking a passport to the hospital. He further adds that he is willing to start a new life with them.
On some such morning, when three or four vessels happen to have arrived at once usually from Africa or South America—or to be on the verge of their departure thitherward, there is a sound of frequent feet passing briskly up and down the granite steps. That is why he permits her to take Pearl with her. This rag of scarlet cloth,- for time and wear and a sacrilegious moth had reduced it to little other than a rag,- on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter. In the second storey of the Custom—House there is a large room, in which the brick—work and naked rafters have never been covered with panelling and plaster. It is my belief, however, that had I attempted a different order of composition, my faculties would not have been found so pointless and inefficacious. While standing on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, they close the circle, causing the mysterious light to appear in the sky.
Meanwhile, the merchants and ship—masters, the spruce clerks and uncouth sailors, entered and departed; the bustle of his commercial and Custom—House life kept up its little murmur round about him; and neither with the men nor their affairs did the General appear to sustain the most distant relation. From father to son, for above a hundred years, they followed the sea; a grey—headed shipmaster, in each generation, retiring from the quarter—deck to the homestead, while a boy of fourteen took the hereditary place before the mast, confronting the salt spray and the gale which had blustered against his sire and grandsire. With the customary infirmity of temper that characterizes this unhappy fowl, she appears by the fierceness of her beak and eye, and the general truculency of her attitude, to threaten mischief to the inoffensive community; and especially to warn all citizens careful of their safety against intruding on the premises which she overshadows with her wings. The accidents of my life have often afforded me this advantage, but never with more fulness and variety than during my continuance in office. Moonlight, in a familiar room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showing all its figures so distinctly—making every object so minutely visible, yet so unlike a morning or noontide visibility—is a medium the most suitable for a romance—writer to get acquainted with his illusive guests. In some other form, perhaps, I may hereafter develop these effects.
What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him--yea, compel him, as it were--to add hypocrisy to sin? Although this is just a symbolical reaction, it shows the deep involvement of the narrator with the social norms. The narrator tells us of his relation to William and John Hathorne, two infamous ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne's. They know how to spare when they see occasion; and when they strike, the axe may be sharp indeed, but its edge is seldom poisoned with ill—will; nor is it their custom ignominiously to kick the head which they have just struck off. The framework of his nature, originally strong and massive, was not yet crumpled into ruin. We will have a home and fireside of our own; and thou shalt sit upon his knee; and he will teach thee many things, and love thee dearly. We are left to contemplate why truth is mixed with fiction here and what message we are to take from it.
The ejected officer—fortunate in the unkindly shove that sends him forth betimes, to struggle amid a struggling world—may return to himself, and become all that he has ever been. And, to say the truth, an appetite, sharpened by the east wind that generally blew along the passage, was the only valuable result of so much indefatigable exercise. It was the capital letter A. I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother thee one other day, but not to-morrow! By covering the story about Hester and describing his surroundings, the narrator covers two hundred years of American history, from both philosophical and factual points of view. The real human being all this time, with his head safely on his shoulders, had brought himself to the comfortable conclusion that everything was for the best; and making an investment in ink, paper, and steel pens, had opened his long—disused writing desk, and was again a literary man. To observe and define his character, however, under such disadvantages, was as difficult a task as to trace out and build up anew, in imagination, an old fortress, like Ticonderoga, from a view of its grey and broken ruins. Here, however, we get the image of a very unwelcoming and unfeeling symbol, one that doesn't care whether you survive or not.
Salem is a port city that failed to mature into a major harbor. A nameless narrator who has a similar biography to Hawthorne describes his job as chief executive officer of a Custom House, the place where taxes were paid on imported goods. Nevertheless, like the greater part of our misfortunes, even so serious a contingency brings its remedy and consolation with it, if the sufferer will but make the best rather than the worst, of the accident which has befallen him. He might truly be termed a legitimate son of the revenue system, dyed in the wool, or rather born in the purple; since his sire, a Revolutionary colonel, and formerly collector of the port, had created an office for him, and appointed him to fill it, at a period of the early ages which few living men can now remember. A careful reading of this section explains the author's use of light chiaroscuro and setting as romance techniques in developing his themes. It is a little remarkable, that—though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends—an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public.
Gradually, they have sunk almost out of sight; as old houses, here and there about the streets, get covered half—way to the eaves by the accumulation of new soil. Accompanied with portrayal of its employees, who all fall into the same category of elderly corrupted custom officers who got their jobs over family connections, the narrator reveals a bigger picture of society and politics. Such were some of the people with whom I now found myself connected. The Black Man is actually Satan, the devil who brings evil and temptation, and by claiming that she has met the Black Man, Hester admits that she had succumbed to passion and committed a sin with Mr. This is the story that Hawthorne claims is the basis for The Scarlet Letter.