The Scarlet Letter and the Egg-carton Essay

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The Scarlet Letter and the Egg-carton


An analogy between two subjects can often lead to a better understanding of one or more of the topics. This point can be displayed by a comparison between the classic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, and a normal egg-carton. An analogy can be made between the concealment of secrets in the novel and the concealment of the eggs by a closed egg-container. Also, a correlation can be made between the revealing of secrets by the characters in The Scarlet Letter and the revealing of the many eggs by an open egg-carton. Lastly, the characters in the novel protect others as an egg carton protects its eggs. Both an egg-carton and The Scarlet Letter provide examples of concealing, revealing, and protecting.


As a closed egg carton hides its contents from view, so the characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel hide their shame and secrets. Certain characters in The Scarlet Letter take great lengths to conceal their secret shame. Hester Prynne, the adulterous lover to Reverend Dimmesdale, lied in order to conceal the true meaning of her Scarlet Letter from her daughter, Pearl. Hester tells Pearl, "... as for the scarlet letter, I wear it for the sake of its gold-thread" (Hawthorne 166). Hester's guilt ridden lover, Reverend Dimmesdale, concealed his shame as well. As he himself phrased it, "Cowardice which invariably drew him back [from revealing he was Pearls father], with her tremulous gripe, just when the other impulse [remorse] had hurried him to the verge of a disclosure" (Hawthorne 136). In Dimmesdale's case, it was his fear of shame that kept him from acknowledging his part in Pearl's creation. Besides concealing their shame, the charact...

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... did finally figure that the Minister Dimmesdale was Hester's lover, Hester decided to warn Dimmesdale. She warned the Minister because as she believed, "the sacrifice of the clergyman's good name, and death itself, would have been preferable to the alternative [Dimmesdale's torment] which she had taken upon herself to choose." (Hawthorne 177).


The novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne can be compared in several ways to an egg-carton. A closed egg-carton can conceal its contents as characters have concealed their secrets. An open egg-container can reveal its eggs as the characters in the novel have revealed secrets. An egg-carton can protect its eggs and Hester Prynne can protect those who were important to her. The novel The Scarlet Letter, when analyzed in depth, can be found to be an even greater piece of American literature.


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