Chapter 15 Analysis of Rhetoric
Many authors use rhetoric to enhance the workings of their work, such as diction, appeal too emotion, or repetition. The most gifted authors know how to use their rhetoric to persuade the reader into thinking a certain way. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses different approaches to rhetoric to persuade, enhance, and enhance the mind of the reader. In chapter fifteen of the Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses these ideas of rhetoric to develop the story for the reader. An example of the rhetoric used in chapter fifteen is Nathaniel Hawthorne's ideas of oxymoron, as stated in the text, "Or would he spread bat's wings and flee away, looking so much the uglier the higher he rose towards heaven" (Hawthorne 159). This oxymoron is explained by the idea that a bat is flying up to heaven. The simple connotation of a bat is that it is the animal of the devil, due to it hiding in caves and fearing light. If a bat has a connotation to be of the devil's pet, then there is no possible way that he could fly to heaven. This rhetoric serves the idea of confusion among who should be granted access to heaven and who should not. Another rhetoric device that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses is the idea of irony in which he displays the Scarlet Letter as being a symbol for adulterer that everyone knows. During this chapter Pearl does not actually know what the Scarlet Letter means, which is ironic since she is the reason for the Scarlet Letter being placed onto Hester's bosom. this irony is showed when Hester and Pearl are speaking to each other, "But does thou know, my child, what this letter means which thy mother is doomed to wear? ... It is the great letter A. Thou hast taught me in the horn book" (Hawthorne 161). The concept of Pearl, the reason for the Scarlet Letter, does not know what it means and also thinking that it is nothing but the letter "A". This rhetoric serves the idea that if someone can see the Scarlet Letter as just being a simple "A" then why can't everybody be able to see it the same way. Another example of rhetoric that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses in chapter fifteen is connotations of words and phrases. An example of this rhetoric as stated in the Scarlet Letter, "Pearl took some eel-grass, and imitated, as best as she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother's. A letter, -the letter A,- but freshly green, instead of scarlet" (Hawthorne 161). To start off, the connotation of the word "decoration" is a positive meaning such as, christmas "decorations". this creates the information that the Scarlet Letter is a positive meaning, and not a negative meaning which it has been seen as for a long time. Another connotation in this statement is the use of the phrase "freshly green" to describe the color of the Scarlet Letter. The connotation of "freshly green" describes nature, as described by the Bible, which is the complete opposite of what the Scarlet Letter is suppose to mean in the definition of the Puritan life. This rhetoric serves the deeper meaning that maybe the Scarlet Letter does not mean what we think it means, it actually means the growth of a person in the context of there own society. Another example of rhetoric in chapter fifteen is stated as, "There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about. What know I of the minister's heart? And as for the Scarlet Letter, I wear it for the sake of its gold-thread" (Hawthorne 163). This is an oxymoron because of the idea that the Scarlet Letter is placed on her because of a sin committed against God. The word gold, which is a symbol for godly, because gold is hardly ever found it is believe to only be handled by the gods. The idea to have something, such as the Scarlet Letter, imply the meaning of the defiance against God to be then sewed with something that is believed to only be handled by God is a contradictory. This rhetoric serves to develop the deeper meaning that this Scarlet Letter is not seen as something bad in the eyes of God, but yet the Puritans think that it is a defiance against god. This means that the Scarlet Letter is not something bad because God does not think so.