Mitul Ahir ENGL 2327Brewer November 14th, 2017 Hawthorneand the “scribbling Women” – Michael Winship”America is now wholly given over to adamned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success whilethe public taste is occupied with their trash–and should be ashamed of myselfif I did succeed.
What is the mystery of these innumerable editions of TheLamplighter, and other books neither better nor worse? Worse they could not be,and better they need not be, when they sell by the hundred thousand.”Michael Winship commences his criticalanalysis with the above passage of Nathaniel Hawthorne, probably his mostwell-known passage. It was written by Hawthorne in a private letter to WilliamD.
Ticknor, who was his publisher and friend. According to Winship, thispassage raised questions around gender politics, the effect of economic factorson authors and publishers, the relationship between success and the quality ofliterature. He finds it surprising that during the period of “AmericanRenaissance” in 1850s, the sentimental novels were more successful than theclassics by Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau and Whitman.Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet letter’is not just any novel, it is a great classic American fiction. From it’s writingto the publication in 1850, the sales of this novel have been good. Since itspublication, this novel has never been out of print, nor indeed out of favor fromliterary critics.
This novel is a piece of writing which comes on the list ofthe top ten greatest novel of all times. It is a best example of craftsmanshipof that time, a unique work than the most other typical works. How this pieceof art can be under rated by critics? What is it that’s taking critic’sattention away from this book? For better understanding of this novel’sgreatness, it requires information of the writer of this novel whoseconnections with this book, descriptions, imaginary power can only be revealedafter reading this great novel. The Scarlet Letter opens with an extended,semiautobiographical preface, which serves the book less as an overture than asa bridge linking the past, as portrayed in Hawthorne’s narrative, to thepresent and to the modern art of referential techniques associated with modernand postmodern fiction (Bloom, 2011, p.
20).’The Scarlet Letter’ is a story about awoman named Hester Prynne who lives in Massachusetts bay colony in the 1640s. Nearthe very begging of the colonial, she had an adulterous affair and had a baby.The colony makes her wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her chest for adulteress andtreat her as an outcast. She keeps the baby’s father a secret, but his identitycomes out at the end of the novel.
The first chapter is custom house and ittells the story of how the author was working as the administrator of a customhouse in Salem where he found an embroidered letter ‘A’, and some papers thattells Hester Prynne’s story. When he got fired from his job he found time towrite ‘The Scarlet Letter’.In the first scene of the novel, Hester walksout of the jail with a baby in the arms and The Scarlet letter embroidered onher chest. The baby is three months old.
Hester was in the jail for adulteryand since no one knew who the baby’s father was, assumption for that wasdiscovered and she was sentenced to jail time when her pregnancy started toshow. The first thing Hester had to do was stand on a scaffold where they keepa pillory which is device for locking people up in public. They didn’t lock herinto the pillory, but she had to stand on the platform for long time witheveryone staring at her. Eventually she saw someone at the edge of the crowd.This man was her husband.
He has sent her ahead of him to Massachusetts whilehe stayed behind in the Europe and when he tried to join her he encounteredvarious mishaps and wound up imprisoned by native Americans. While she washaving affair and being in jail, he wanders out of the forest on exactly theday that she is up in the front of the pillory, he didn’t tell anyone who he was,and he puts his fingers to his lips so that way Hester can’t reveal hisidentity. Governor asks to Hester about her sin and Dimmesdale to reveal thefather of this baby, so they can confess and atone for his crimes with her. Butsooner in reading, it is not hard to figure out that Dimmesdale was a father.But at that time, Hester refuses to reveal this secret to the Governor.
Latershe stayed into the jail and her husband was coming to see her posing as adoctor, and all the time he was requesting for forgiveness. From that point hestarts to call himself as Roger Chillingworth.When Hester was living with her baby sheskilled at sewing through and she makes fancy lace garments for officials towear in ceremonies through whole time. When colony’s people try to take Pearlaway from Hester, when she was 3 and half year old. Hester went to Governor andhe did ask to Pearl some religious question.
At that time, she was not able tobring answers to those questions, so governor thinks that Hester is bad mom,but Hester appeals to Dimmesdale to speak for her. He says that God gave Pearlto Hester to save her soul and he points out that pearl looks like the scarlet letter,so Hester is clearly using Pearl to remember her sin and repent. Chillingworthwas the first person who find out the secret that Dimmesdale was the father ofpearl and this secret was killing him from the inside.
One day, Chillingworth goes beyond and askshim that he must have a religious problem which was killing him. Dimmesdalereplied by saying that it is not his business, and Dimmesdale goes to sleep. WhenChillingworth opens his shirt and sees something on his chest, and that tellshim everything. Dimmesdale wanted to confess to his congregation and he tellscolony’s people that he is a sinner, but they like him more.
When he was alone,he whips himself and starves himself and he sees vision of his parents, Pearland Hester. At last, they held sermonwhich was Hugh hit, it was biggest sermon ever in New England. At there,Dimmesdale comes out and takes Hester and Pearl leads them upon the pilloryplatform with him, Chillingworth tries to stop him but cannot stop him. Dimmesdalesays he should have stood with them seven years before. Then he opens his shirtand reveals a scarlet letter on his chest at that time no one knows that how itgot there it could be sign from God or he might have scarred himself.Dimmesdale asks Pearl she shall kiss him now and she does, Hester ask if theywill be together in Heaven and he denies saying that they need to repent fortheir sin and he dies.
Afterward Chillingworth dies and leaves a hugeinheritance to Pearl Hester, she leaves the colony for a while and she marriessomeone rich in Europe but Hester Eventually comes back to live in her cottageand wear her scarlet letter again.The author draws on the decades afterHawthorne’s death in 1864 and focuses on his widow, Sophia Hawthorne. Raisingthree children by herself, her financial situation was unsatisfactory. Shethreatened Fields to transfer future rights in her husband’s works to anotherfirm. Winship implies a comparison between Sophia and Hester Prynne, the womenwho stood for themselves when they felt that the person they loved were beingused.
Sophia’s instance is an excellent illustration of women claiming theirrights regarding their families, not submitting to the misconduct and scandal.Sophia and Hester both were deemed not as valiant as men in their time, yet bothdemonstrated gallantry for their causes, something remarkable at the time. Theydefied to renounce the significance of their loved ones and their reputations.Winship argues that Nathaniel Hawthorne wasclearly bothered by the successes of the female competitors. He believed thatHawthorne was frustrated because of the numbers: in comparison to 11,800 copiesof his work ‘The Scarlet Letter’ produced by 1860, about 310,000 copies ofHarriett Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cat’ and about 90,000 copies of MariaSusannah Cummins’s ‘The Lamplighter’ were sold.
Throughout his analysis, he comparesthe publication histories of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ forthe remainder of the nineteenth century. He concludes his writing with a strongimplication that the publication and marketing played a key role in the successand popularity of both the novels. While ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was criticized ina strongly negative manner, ‘The Scarlet Letter’ emerged as one of the twogreat classics of American Fiction, along with Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick’. Uçum, U?ur. “A Reconsideration of NathanielHawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter.” Journal of History, Culture Research / Tarih Kültür Ve Sanat Arastirmalari Dergisi, vol.
4, no. 3,Sept. 2015, pp. 118-126. EBSCOhost,Bloom, H.
(2011). Bloom’s Guides: TheScarlet Letter, New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism An imprint of InfoBasePublishing.