Symbols of the Original Sin---- A Study of Three Motifs in Hawthorne’s Three Stories毕业论文_英语毕业论文

Symbols of the Original Sin—- A Study of Three Motifs in Hawthorne’s Three Stories毕业论文


摘 要

霍桑是美国著名小说家,以其深邃的思想和高超的写作技巧而闻名。他的作品主要涉及对人性本质的探讨,即他的原罪观思想。通过不断呈现创作理念,霍桑非常擅长在小说中运用象征性的事物传达其作品中不断出现的母题。本论文以霍桑的三部作品——《红字》、 《胎记》、《牧师的黑面纱》为研究对象,分析三个母题中象征意义的各自展现方式,突出研究霍桑是如何利用母题来作为他的主要文学关注点的象征,即原罪观的象征。

关键词:纳撒尼尔·霍桑;象征意义;母题;《红字》;《胎记》;《牧师的黑面纱》; 原罪观


1. Introduction 1

2. Demonstration 2

2.1 “A” as Symbol of the Original Sin in The Scarlet Letter 2

2.1.1 Summary of the story of The Scarlet Letter 2

2.1.2 “A” as the motif in The Scarlet Letter 3

2.1.3 Symbolic meanings of “A” 5

2.2 “Birthmark” as Symbol of the Original Sin in The Birthmark 7

2.2.1 Summary of the story of The Birthmark 7

2.2.2 “Birthmark” as the motif in The Birthmark 8

2.2.3 Symbolic meanings of the imperfect “birthmark” 9

2.3 “Black Veil” as Symbol of the Original Sin in The Minister’s Black Veil 10

2.3.1 Summary of the story of The Minister’s Black Veil 10

2.3.2 “Black Veil” as the motif in The Minister’s Black Veil 11

2.3.3 Symbolic meanings of “the black veil” 12

3. Conclusion 13

Works Cited 14

Bibliography 15

Symbols of the Original Sin

—- A Study of Three Motifs in Hawthorne’s Three Stories

  1. Introduction

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), as one of the most outstanding romantic novelists and the central figure of American Renaissance in the 19th century, has owned great appreciation in American Literature.

Hawthorne, the descendent of declining Puritan family, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His ancestors were the Puritan fanatic followers. One of his ancestors served as the chief executive, had persecuted Quaker during his tenure. The other one, John Hawthorne, was one of the three judges in the Salem Witch Trial. The well-known witchcraft made him notorious at that time. Greatly influenced by his ancestors’ villainies and the strong Puritanism in Massachusetts, his works are marked by gray, gloomy, melancholy mood and most of them are permeated with tragic tone. D.H. Lawrence once made highly praise of him, said, “He knew disagreeable things in his inner soul. He was careful to send them out in disguise.”(83) In his works, he is good at exploring human nature in the view of man has already been a sinner from birth. Original sin has been the major feature of his works and almost no one can devote themselves to literature like Hawthorne.

As a unique writer, Hawthorne is very good at using motifs to serve as symbols of his major literary concern, the original sin. The motif, as a major image employed through the whole story, has symbolic meanings and contributions to the development of theme. It can be seen as a recurrent image, sound, action, or any other typical things constantly appeared. It can also play an essential role for its relations with plot, construction, background, characterization and so on. Its changeable meaning may make a turning point or its description may expose social environment at that time. What’s more, it helps shape main characters to indicate their personalities. “Hawthorne not only successfully creates different characters with miserable fates who are the victims of cruel Puritanism, but also perfectly presents the point of original sin with magic motif.”(Zhang, 18) Therefore, along with presenting the theme, it is absolutely a brilliant method for Hawthorne to use several motifs as the symbols of his concern in his works.

In Hawthorne’s stories, the employment of different motifs and its symbolic meanings are of great help underlining his main idea. His major original sin permeates most of his novels. This thesis will choose three classical works written by Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, The Birthmark and The Minister’s Black Veil, to demonstrate how the symbolic meanings of three motifs are respectively employed in different ways to spread his thought.

This paper will be divided into three parts. The first part is the introduction, presenting the summary of each story about its plot, together with the influence in literary circle at that time. The second part concentrates on the function of motif, mainly explores the contributions that this unique skill makes to the background, characterization, the development of plot and the expression of the theme. Finally, the last part will unearth the deep meanings hidden in the symbolic object in each story. Through the exploration, it can help readers better understand the author’s literary essence.

2. Demonstration

2.1 “A” as Symbol of the Original Sin in The Scarlet Letter

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