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Scarlet Letter - Syntax & Imagery

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:28 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.8 
  • Words: 1257
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Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, has an extremely elaborate, and well-depicted vocabulary.   Many of his sentences and paragraphs tend to be very verbose, but at the same time very helpful in giving the reader an accurate representation of the exactly how Chillingworth reacts when he first sees Hester.   Within the passage on page sixty-seven Hawthorne is giving an intricate description of Chillingworth’s reaction when he first sees Hester after she is released from prison.   With his usage of both syntax and imagery throughout this passage, he most effectively illustrates his vision of Chillingworth.   Hawthorne gives us quite a bit of description within this passage, which allows us to see an intellectual side of Chillingworth.   Generally people are intellectual or religious, the big bang vs. Genesis.   Chillingworth is portrayed as intellectual, which conflicts with the Puritan views of religion.

Syntax is simply described by the arrangement of words; more complexly it is also made up of the Primary and Secondary structures of language.   Primary Structures often consist of “an initial noun phrase, a verb phrase, and a final noun phrase”; while secondary structures consist of basically everything else in the sentence (all of the extra words used to make language more vivid and colorful).   While looking at the second sentence of this passage Hawthorne writes,

  “It was carelessly, at first, like a man chiefly accustomed to

  look inward, and to whom external matters are of little value

  and import unless they bear relation to something within his


The majority of this passage was composed of secondary structures.   “It was careless,” was the only primary structure in this sentence.   All of the other descriptions used were secondary structure, which helped us to understand the lackadaisical expression Chillingworth displayed when his gaze met that of...


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