The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts.
Original Text Modern Text It is a little remarkable, that—though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends—an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public.
The first time was three or four years since, when I favored the reader—inexcusably, and for no earthly reason, that either the indulgent reader or the intrusive author could imagine—with a description of my way of life in the deep quietude of an Old Manse.
The truth seems to be, however, that, when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates and lifemates.
It is scarcely decorous, however, to speak all, even where we speak impersonally. Scarlet letter notes thoughts are frozen and utterance benumbed, unless the speaker stand in some true relation with his audience—it may be pardonable to imagine that a friend, a kind and apprehensive, though not the closest friend, is listening to our talk; and then, a native reserve being thawed by this genial consciousness, we may prate of the circumstances that lie around us, and even of ourself, but still keep the inmost Me behind its veil.
The first time was three or four years ago, when I published for no good reason a story about my way of life in the deep calm of the Old Manse.
Still, since thoughts are frozen and voices silent unless the writer has some true relationship with his audience, I might be forgiven for imagining that a friend—a kind, insightful, though not especially close friend—is reading as I write.
In this way, I think an author can write about his life without crossing the line with the reader or with himself. It will be seen, likewise, that this Custom-House sketch has a certain propriety, of a kind always recognized in literature, as explaining how a large portion of the following pages came into my possession, and as offering proofs of the authenticity of a narrative therein contained.
This, in fact—a desire to put myself in my true position as editor, or very little more, of the most prolix among the tales that make up my volume,—this, and no other, is my true reason for assuming a personal relation with the public.
In accomplishing the main purpose, it has appeared allowable, by a few extra touches, to give a faint representation of a mode of life not heretofore described, together with some of the characters that move in it, among whom the author happened to make one. This sketch of the Custom House takes the polite step, as is common in literature, of explaining how the story that follows came into my possession, and offering proof that the story is real.
In my native town of Salem, at the head of what, half a century ago, in the days of old King Derby; was a bustling wharf,—but which is now burdened with decayed wooden warehouses, and exhibits few or no symptoms of commercial life; except, perhaps, a bark or brig, half-way down its melancholy length, discharging hides; or, nearer at hand, a Nova Scotia schooner, pitching out her cargo of firewood,—at the head, I say, of this dilapidated wharf, which the tide often overflows, and along which, at the base and in the rear of the row of buildings, the track of many languid years is seen in a border of unthrifty grass,—here, with a view from its front windows adown this not very enlivening prospect, and thence across the harbour, stands a spacious edifice of brick.
Its front is ornamented with a portico of half a dozen wooden pillars, supporting a balcony, beneath which a flight of wide granite steps descends towards the street. Over the entrance hovers an enormous specimen of the American eagle, with outspread wings, a shield before her breast, and, if I recollect aright, a bunch of intermingled thunderbolts and barbed arrows in each claw.
With the customary infirmity of temper that characterizes this unhappy fowl, she appears, by the fierceness of her beak and eye and the general truculency of her attitude, to threaten mischief to the inoffensive community; and especially to warn all citizens, careful of their safety, against intruding on the premises which she overshadows with her wings.
Nevertheless, vixenly as she looks, many people are seeking, at this very moment, to shelter themselves under the wing of the federal eagle; imagining, I presume, that her bosom has all the softness and snugness of an eider-down pillow.
But she has no great tenderness, even in her best of moods, and, sooner or later,—oftener soon than late,—is apt to fling off her nestlings with a scratch of her claw, a dab of her beak, or a rankling wound from her barbed arrows. In my native Salem, there is a wharf that was bustling fifty years ago but is now decaying and almost empty, aside from a few trading ships unloading their cargo.
The tide often overflows the wharf, and overgrown grass tells the story of many slow years. At the end of this dilapidated wharf, overlooking the bleak view, is a big brick building.
For three and a half hours each morning, from the roof of the building, a U. In the front of the building, six wooden pillars support a balcony, and a flight of wide stone steps descends to the street. Despite her scary appearance, many people are, at this very moment, trying to shelter themselves under the wing of the federal government.
|The Scarlet Letter||A young woman, Hester Prynne, has been found guilty of adultery and must wear a scarlet A on her dress as a sign of shame. Furthermore, she must stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation.|
|Navigate Guide||Analysis The preface sets the atmosphere of the story and connects the present with the past.|
|The Custom-House||Analysis The preface sets the atmosphere of the story and connects the present with the past.|
|SparkNotes: The Scarlet Letter: Symbols||The Custom House The Scarlet Letter begins with a prelude in which an unnamed narrator explains the novel's origin. While working at the Salem Custom House a tax collection agencythe narrator discovered in the attic a manuscript accompanied by a beautiful scarlet letter "A.|
|After she is released from prison, Hester remains in Boston because||While waiting for him, she had an affair with a Puritan minister named Dimmesdale, after which she gave birth to Pearl.|
But the bird is vicious in even her best moods, and sooner or later usually soonershe flings off the shelter-seekers with her claw, beak, or arrows.The Scarlet Letter begins with a prelude in which an unnamed narrator explains the novel's origin.
While working at the Salem Custom House (a tax collection agency), the narrator discovered in the attic a manuscript accompanied by a beautiful scarlet letter "A." After the narrator lost his job, he.
Several years later, Hester returns to Boston, resumes wearing the scarlet letter, and becomes a person to whom other women turn for solace.
When she dies, she is buried near the grave of Dimmesdale, and they share a simple slate tombstone with the inscription "On a field, sable, the letter A gules.". Oct 22, · From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ The Scarlet Letter Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
Nov 01, · Check out Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Video SparkNote: Quick and easy The Scarlet Letter synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and themes in the novel.
The Scarlet Letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts.
The Scarlet Letter's symbolism helps create a powerful drama in Puritan Boston: a kiss, evil, sin, nature, the scarlet letter, and the punishing scaffold.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece is a classic example of the human conflict between emotion and intellect.