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Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter is one of the best examples of his work He worked nine hours a day for six months to churn out this nice piece of literature possibly one of Americas greatest novels The writing of this book marked a phase shift in Hawthornes life The end of the short-story phase and the real beginning his first novel Fanshaw was a failure of the novel phase was an inevitable consequence spawned through The Scarlet Letter During his novel phase he wrote two other books neither of which could surpass The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter is often called a romance about Puritan America Taking place in The Massachusetts Bay Colony the story unfolds over a time span of about seven years Hawthornes ancestry in the Puritan era one of his ancestors was a judge in the Salem witchcraft trials greatly influenced his book and he was very convicted about his Puritan heritage which is very evident throughout the novel When analyzing The Scarlet Letter one must consider its characters and their relationships to each other the major themes and writing style Hawthorne uses and the symbols morals and underlying meanings scattered through the book There are three scaffold scenes in the story that serve as milestones for beginning middle and end These scenes provide both a literal meaning in the story as well as a symbolic one The symbolic meaning will be discussed later For the literal meanings the first scaffold scene takes place in the very beginning This scene describes the public humiliation of Hester on the scaffold This scene also serves as an introduction to the problem faced by Hester and the general premise of the story The second scaffold scene which is roughly in the middle of the story takes place on the scaffold at night This scene demonstrates the guilt faced by Dimmesdale and also symbolizes his stubbornness in that he still is trying to hide his
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