Good Essay Thesis Scarlet Letter

"The Scarlet Letter" - Thesis on the theme of Sin and Guilt.

1773 WordsOct 6th, 20058 Pages

One main theme present in the work "The Scarlet Lette" is that of sin and guilt. Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to show how guilt can be a form of everlasting punishment. The book represents sin and guilt through symbolism and character development. In his novel, "The Scarlet Letter", Nathaniel Hawthorne explains how the punishment of guilt causes the most suffering among those affected.

As with any piece, symbolism plays an important role in representing the main ideas of a novel. The plot in "The Scarlet Letter" revolves around three significant events that describe the development of the story. As both starting point and ending point of the novel, the scaffold scenes hold symbolic meaning.

The first scaffold scene introduces the reader…show more content…

As the book opens, Hester is brought forth from the jail and walked to the scaffold. For the first time being seen in public named an adulterer, Hester shies from the public as they mock her. However, "She never battled with the public, but submitted uncomplainingly to its worst usage; she made no claim upon it, in requital for what she suffered; she did not weight upon its sympathies." (Hawthorne 140). Soon, it did not matter what other people thought of Hester because of her sin. She chose not to live with the humiliation, but she did have to live with herself.

Having to deal with her daughter Pearl day in and day out is a punishment in itself as well. Most people, including Hester, view Peal as a demon child. However, Hester hesitates to punish Pearl for being so. She feels guilty as it is, placing a burden on Pearl's life, for Peal is branded as the child of an adulterer, all of this resulting from Hester's 'passionate sin'. (Guilt as Reparation for Sin, paragraph 14).

The minister Dimmesdale is greatly affected by the weight of guilt he carries with him everyday of his proceeding life. Since his sin is unknown to society, there is not a public crowd to look down upon him, but one Roger Chillingworth who lives just to torture Dimmesdale. He wishes and prays most often that the public know of his wrong, rather than hold it secret, as it would be less painful. "Happy are you,

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If you’re going to write a winning essay, you definitely need a thesis. That’s why I decided to make you a step-by-step video on how to write an awesome thesis statement.

Writing a thesis statement is all about figuring out the main idea for your paper, and then explaining that main idea to your reader. But where to begin?

Begin with the question—the question you’re answering with your essay. We’ll use The Scarlet Letter as an example.

Let’s say your teacher gave you the following question as your essay topic:

What role does the scarlet letter A play in Hawthorne’s novel, and why is it important?

Thesis Statement Step 1:

SYMBOLS, not CYMBALS. Find out more about symbols and other terms of literary analysis in the Recap Resource.

Assuming you’ve read the book (and really, you can’t write a paper without having read the book) answer the question off the top of your head.

Question: What role does the scarlet letter A play in Hawthorne’s novel, and why is it important?

Preliminary thesis: In The Scarlet Letter, the letter A is asymbol.

That’s a good start, but you haven’t answered the whole question. Remember that the second part of the question is: and why is the A important?

Thesis Statement Step 2:

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a complicated man. What prompted him to write The Scarlet Letter? Here's one theory. Here's another.

So now you need to refine your answer. At this point, you’ll probably need to look back at your notes about the book to figure out why the A is important. After you do, revise your thesis statement.

Question: What role does the scarlet letter A play in Hawthorne’s novel, and why is it important?

Revised thesis:In The Scarlet Letter, the letter A is more than a symbol; it actually helps define Hester’s identity.

That’s not a bad thesis, but remember that your thesis sends the reader off into your essay not just knowing what you’re going to write about, but how you’re going to make your case. In other words, you want to give your reader a little bit more direction.

This is where examples come in.

Thesis Statement Step 3:

Before you finish refining your thesis, you need to know which examples from the book are going to help you make your case. For this question, we might look at the way the meaning of the scarlet letter A changes over the course of the novel. First, it defines Hester as an adulteress. Later, it shows how “able” Hester is. And finally, it comes to stand for “angel” as Hester takes control of her own identity.

So, with these examples in mind, let’s revise that thesis statement one more time.

Question: What role does the scarlet letter A play in Hawthorne’s novel, and why is it important?

Finalized thesis, version 1: In The Scarlet Letter, the letter A is more than a symbol; it actually helps define Hester’s identity, transforming her from an “adulteress,” to a woman who’s “able,” and finally, into an “angel.”

That’s a great thesis (if I do say so myself), but I want to point out something that happened as I wrote that thesis. Sometimes, when you start working with examples, an even deeper, more nuanced response to the question emerges.

So here’s an optional final step.

Thesis Statement Step 4:

Ask yourself: Am I really saying all I could be saying with my thesis? Am I really saying it in the clearest possible way? Or are my examples leading me to tweak my thesis and say something a little different, a little deeper?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, revise again.

Question: What role does the scarlet letter A play in Hawthorne’s novel, and why is it important?

Finalized thesis, version 2: In The Scarlet Letter, the letter A isn’t just a symbol of Hester’s downfall; as Hester moves from “adulteress,” to a woman who’s “able,” and finally, to an “angel,” the A becomes a symbol of Hester’s “agency” in defining her own identity.

Thesis Statements: Four Steps to a Great Essay

Get Psyched! Check out our eight-part 60second Recap® video tutorial mini-series, Write a Great Essay!

Let’s look at those steps one last time. To write your thesis statement:

1. Answer the question.
2. Refine your answer, making sure you’ve answered all parts of the question.
3. Refine your answer into a more focused thesis statement by including a reference to the examples you plan to use.
4. Refine your thesis so that it answers the question not just in a focused way, but also in a creative, thoughtful, even profound way.

There you have it: An awesome thesis statement, and a solid foundation for an A+ essay.


Ready to write your A+ Essay?
Step 1: Think Like a Prosecutor. Read about it here.


Thesis Statements: Four Steps to a Great Essay was last modified: October 11th, 2015 by 60second Recap

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