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Characterization In Three Selected Works: A Comparative Essay

1995 words - 8 pages

Characterization in Three Selected Works: A Comparative Essay
In most pieces of fictional narrative or poetry characters are what drive the story. Characters reveal information, act out scenes and compel readers to keep turning pages with their ability to make an impression on the reader. Whether this impression is positive or negative well written characters connect the reader with the story in a way that is immersive. This essay will offer comment on how individual characters are presented and described by three different authors (Emily Dickenson, Kate Chopin and Nathaniel Hawthorne), briefly offering explanation of important nuances each character may possess. Where possible direct ...view middle of the document...

Death is not the only interesting character in poem “712”. Dickenson’s portrayal of herself in this poem hints at the rich inner life she has cultivated for herself. In this poem Dickenson reveals herself through her own characterization, as a person who is not afraid of Death when she meets him; nor is she afraid of what is waiting for her in the afterlife. By inserting herself into this poem she is allowing herself to explore what the notion of dying might have to offer. This underlines the idea the Dickenson is telling the reader that she understands the inevitability of life. This insertion of self allows Dickenson to connect directly with her readers by showing her own vulnerability and fragility as a human. Poem “712” is proleptic in its nature but welcoming of the possibility of eternity. Dickenson does not fear what she does not understand, she merely wants to let her fate wash over her as both the author and subject of the poem.
The next author’s characterizations to be explored will that of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In his work The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne introduces his audience to a women named Hester Prynne who is prudent, skilled and steadfast in her existence. Hester must endure the harsh puritanical environment she finds herself in after she and a character named Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale engage in an extra marital tryst. Living in the new colony’s harsh climate, Hester’s role changes over time from a person to scorn, to a person tolerated and begrudgingly sought out for services to a person of strong moral character. Hester’s evolution is subtle which underlines the strength of her character. This makes her seem like she should be a pillar of her community to the audience, as opposed to an outcast. However Hester is not seen this way by those who live beside her in Boston, to most she is seen as nothing more than an adulteress who must bear her shame until her death. The background characters in the novel are not privy to the information presented to the reader by Hawthorne in a deliberate attempt by the author to make the reader judge Hester on their own terms. Hawthorne is presenting a commentary on how women are viewed by his refusal to demonize Hester for her momentary lack of judgement. Hawthorne’s purpose her is to shift attention away from Hester’s perceived sin to showcase the person beneath the action. Hawthorne is deliberate in his portrayal of Hester affirming that she turns from adulteress, to able, then artist and finally angel.
Hester is not without a counterpart which is portrayed in reverend Dimmesdale. Unlike Hester, Dimmesdale is seen as honorable and admirable. His place within the community is never question by those he preaches to and he is seen by all as virtuous example of piety. However the reader finds out the Dimmesdale is not the strong moral character he is suggested to be. Dimmesdale is weak and fearful of how his reputation would be ruined if people knew of his and Hester’s tryst. He is wracked...

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