The Scarlet Letter: the Elements of Romanticism

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The Scarlet Letter, written by Natheniel Hawthorne, reflects the literary movement of Romanticism through three distinguished characters within the novel to show the connection between the natural world and human emotions.

Dimmesdale, who is disclosed to be the father of Pearl, is used by Hawthorne to embody the struggle of man between one's inner emotions and one's outer look in society's eyes. At the end of the novel, Dimmesdale confesses his sins and divulges the truth to the community as a result of being in love with Hester. During this situation, Dimmesdale was simply thinking about the feeling he had for Hester rather than thinking about the aftermath. He felt so much relief when confessing the truth.

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The young character of Pearl shows individuality throughout the whole book, which is a characteristic of the literary movement Romanticism. Right when Pearl is born she becomes isolated due to the very fact that she was born from a sin. This young girl soon starts to become very different from society. Her perspective and clothing begin to shock the rest of her community, this encourages them to mock her. As she grows she starts to realize what this society is doing to her, her temperament begins to become terribly irritable and angry. “If the children gathered about her, as they sometimes did, Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble, because they had so much the sound of a witch’s anathemas in some unknown tongue.” (Hawthorne 85), As Pearl grew older, she became more like a wild animal as a result of realizing the hatred she is receiving from the community.

Within the novel, Romanticism radiates off of Hester Pryne’s character. Hester shows great individuality throughout the entire novel which isolates her from the society frequently. After committing adultery and getting shamed by her whole community, she stayed and took the penalization like nobody else would. Years after she decides to leave with the love of her life while she is married to a different man, in this society, no woman would ever consider doing this. “In order to free his mind from this distinctness and duplicity of impression, which vexed it with a strange disquietude, he recalled and more thoroughly defined the plans which Hester and himself had sketched for their departure.” (Hawthorne 196), during this point in the novel these two characters did not care about fitting into the society or their reputations, they loved one another more than any other puritan had loved.

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The Scarlet Letter: the Elements of Romanticism. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“The Scarlet Letter: the Elements of Romanticism.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
The Scarlet Letter: the Elements of Romanticism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
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