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There are two moments of foreshadowing during this chapter which require further analysis. The first occurs when Chillingworth says, "Thou wilt not reveal his name? Not the less is he mine. He bears no letter of infamy wrought into his garment, as thou dost; but I shall read it on his heart." The connection between the scarlet letter and the heart was already made in previous chapters, when Hester placed her hand on the letter and Dimmesdale clutched his heart to hide his shame. Thus the reader can infer that his heart will somehow reveal Dimmesdale's secret. This does in fact occur, as a result of Chillingworth feeling Dimmesdale's heart while the reverend is sleeping.

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The Custom House is largely an autobiographical sketch describing Hawthorne's life as an administrator of the Salem Custom House. It was written to enlarge the tale of , since Hawthorne deemed the story too short to print by itself. It also serves as an excellent essay on society during Hawthorne's times, and it allows Hawthorne to add an imaginative literary device, the romantic pretense of having discovered the manuscript of The Scarlet Letter in the Custom House.


The Scarlet Letter Essay (For those of you who want to …

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The Scarlet Letter study guide contains a biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.


Scarlet letter theme analysis essay - …

“The Custom-House” is a stand-alone section of the novel. It resembles more a tract or a personal essay than an introduction to a piece of fiction, but it offers plenty of insights that will support the rest of The Scarlet Letter. For one thing, we gain a sense of why the narrator feels the need to tell the story. As a man of youth and vigor, he feels somewhat at odds with the Puritan nature of his society. He himself seems to feel a deep resentment for the strict fidelity to rules and values that would deem his whole personality, and his ambition to write, as frivolous or even sinful.