Chronotope of Forest and Pulic Sphere in The Scarlet Letter

Anika Singh

Abstract


This article explores the vivid operation of Foucaultian paradigm throughout Hawthorne’s narrative ,The Scarlett Letter of the individual versus the state; elucidating how these institutional mechanisms of the state (which include the police, judiciary and the notion of survelliance) tend to regulate and curb an individual’s life .  The narrative takes us into a society where the menace of Puritan law and order is evident alongwith their ostentatious ethics for deliverance of  ‘justice’ and their unreasonable means for punishment. So, the scaffold placed majestically , in the public sphere of the Puritan town is in itself a symbol of threat to the individual , who is not only made well aware that sin follows a punishment, but at the same time , to them sin refers to transgressive behaviour . So the ‘deviant’ individual like Hester in the novel, would be subject to both a complulsive punishment and public shame. The novel on the contrary, also provides us another symbol in opposition to the public sphere which is the forest , the forest however , in its natural plenty is symbolic of freedom and purity . Now if we look at the narrative from the point of view of Bakhtin’s chronotope , it would be easy to infer that both  time and space are aspects of the novel which are inevitably fused into one another , therefore , inseperable . So in the case of Scarlett Letter , time denotes the Puritan time and the space of the public sphere is designed according to the needs of its times.     


Keywords


Scaffold , Conservatism , Puritan Regime , Chronotope , Public Sphere , Sin , Transgression

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References


BLEVY, LEO. "LANDSCAPE MODES OF SCARLET LETTER." CALIFORNIA PRESS (1969).

KAUL, AN. THE AMERICAN VISION. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2002.

MATHIESSEN, FO. "ALLEGORY AND SYMBOLISM IN SCARLET LETTER." OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS , 1941.


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