In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses a variety of literary devices to aid in character development, plot, setting, point of view, etc. In particular, he relies heavily on foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism. The book is also a study in transformation. Each of the four main characters undergoes significant transformations throughout the novel.
For your research essay, you will use the following guidelines to help you form a well-constructed essay which adheres to the basic essay structure we discussed early in the semester: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning should include introductory statements which may provide some background about the topic you will address. It should end with your thesis statement–your statement of purpose in which you explain what your essay will set out to argue. The body of the essay should contain topical paragraphs which explore what you have set out to prove in your thesis. It should include the results of your own analysis/synthesis, quotations from the novel which support your thesis, and information (quotes or paraphrases) from at least three secondary sources which also help support the ideas which your thesis purports. It should be expressed in rhetorical form: written discourse which informs, explains, and motivates the reader to accept your proposed thesis. The conclusion will provide a wrap up of your ideas (without providing new information) and should serve as a closure which expresses in general ways how your thesis has been proven in the body of the essay. You will use MLA Style for the essay, including the heading, page numbering, in-text citations, etc. The essay should not be less than five pages of typed, double-spaced text, although it can be longer if needed. It should include a Works Cited page prepared in proper MLA Style as the last page. The Works Cited page should not count as one of your five pages of text.
Specific guidelines for you to follow in the development of your essay are as follows:
1.Choose one of the four main characters in the novel: Hester Prynne, Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale, Roger Chillingworth, or Pearl (do not choose any other character).
2.Explore the variety of ways that particular character undergoes transformation throughout the novel. Ideas to explore include the following:
What is their character like at the beginning of the novel?
What sort of transformations does the character experience?
How does Hawthorne make these transformations happen?
In particular, how does he use foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism to aid in the characters transformations?
Do the characters transformations result in a change that affects him or her for the better or for the worse?
How do the characters transformations affect the action of the novel?
What elements of 17th-century Puritan society help affect the transformations?
Does Hawthorne stay true to his portrayal of 17th-century Puritanism in the New World in his character development/transformation?
Do the characters transformations have a major effect on one or more of the other three major characters?
Besides the three literary devices mentioned above, does Hawthorne use others to help portray the characters transformations? (this website is helpful with providing information about literary devices: http://literarydevices.net/ )
Do the characters transformations help make him/her the novels hero? Why or why not?
What aspects of the character, if any, do not undergo transformation, and how/why is this significant or insignificant?
What changes which occurred in Puritan society are foreshadowed by the characters transformations?
3.The above are some ideas for you to use as you develop your approach to your essay. You may consider others, but they will need to be approved in our one-on-one meeting in which we discuss your thesis and outline.
4.This paper is worth 300 points. Remember that you must make a C or better on the paper in order to pass this course (at least 210 points).
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