The Scarlet Letter Close Reading

New Edition: Page 479 – 480

In the following exert from ‘The Scarlet Letter”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, introduces Hester Prynne as she is put before a crowd with her child, to be ridiculed by the crowd and to publicly and forcefully accept the full consequences for her mistake through public shame. Hester Prynne uses her baby, ‘one token of her shame’ to conceal another. Hester is not solely protecting her baby but is using the baby, a symbol that shows her shame, to protect another from being publicly exposed. Hester is not acting off her motherly love but is acting disgracefully. She is ashamed of her actions but does not show this to the crowd when ‘she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours.’ She does so because she comes to understand that ‘one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another’. We then see the first reference to Hester’s literal mark of shame, ‘On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A’. It can be inferred that this letter A signifies adultery just as the baby itself signifies adultery as well. Hester is condemned for her action because she lives in a Puritan society where the law and religion run hand in hand. Adultery is a law in the church as goes again Puritan teachings. The artfulness and vibrancy that ‘was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy’ made it be easily see by all and, ‘it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore’. The effect of it vibrancy is to show the public what type of person Hester is and the actions she has taken part in, publicly humiliating her. Also, the apparel she wore was ‘greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.’ This mean what she wore was not permitted by the society she lived in.

When the young woman—the mother of this child—stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress. In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.

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Just Keep “Progressing”

THE B & O RAILROAD

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is considered one of the oldest Railroads in North America. This railroad, was pioneered by Philip E. Thomas and George Brown. The understanding of the railroad is that it is marked as a major break in American industrialization. The Railroad that would run from the port of Baltimore West to Ohio River was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chapter 123 of the 1826 Session Laws of Maryland on March 8, 1827.

Construction began in 1828, with the the first division opening, between Baltimore and Ellicotts Mills, Md, in May of 1830. By 1857, the B & O Railroad was steadily developed with it next division in St Louis. The Railroad played many major roles. One of these major roles being transporting Union Troops and Supplies during the Civil War. By the late 19th century the B & O railroad developers had made a breakthrough by connected the railroad with Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York.

As the B & O Railroad got along, in the mid 20th century, it became a freight carrier. As it began to face financial difficulties it was procured by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company in 1963 and they became one in 1965 covering 11,000 miles of track. In the 1970’s, the B & O railroad and CSX Corporation, under the control of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company combined resulting in 27,000 miles of track. This merged ended the history of the B & O track.

“The name may be gone, but the road will always be remembered.”

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This artifact represents many of the themes if the prolegomenon. These would include the result of the industrial age, the constant and rapid progression americans are known for and the unfortunate wrecking brought to nature during its construction. The railroad shows an obvious meaning and role in industrialization, however, apart from this the railroad’s development journeys through the moving frontier right up until the Frontier “close” in 1809.

Work Cited:

http://teaching.msa.maryland.gov/000001/000000/000130/html/t130.html\

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/…/us…/the-closing-of-the-frontier

http://csx.history.railfan.net/history/histbo.html

http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/business/baltimore-ohio-railroad.html

For more information:

http://www.borhs.org/

Ol’ Frontier…

In Train Dream the frontier is a prime element of the novel that acts as a framework for the overall plot. THE Frontier according to Turner is the setting stone for American democracy. He theoretically describes it as the “meeting point between savagery and civilization…”. In the novel, Grainer is a lumberjack who is working to clear land for a rail way. Turner describes industrialization as primal and the driving force in American society. Turner makes many remarks about “development” and this is right in Grainers line of work and the goal America is trying to achieve when they bring in Chinese workers to build the railroad.

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9/11 – Never Forgotten

SEPT 11 2001 NYC

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, hijacked four airliners and crashed them into specified American targets. Of the four planes, one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC, one crashed into the a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the last two were flown into the World Trade Centre in New York City. A total of 2,977 people were killed . The 9/11 event was a particularly criminal and inhuman act along a continuum of anti-american attacks that gave birth to a war and brought about everyday sociological changes for Americans. 9/11 has left a scar in many families which has yet to be healed, fifteen years later.

Mr Blake Weir, my interviewee was only a Junior in high school, 16 years of age. He was about to be let out of class when a teacher across the hall came into the class and said a plane just flew into the World Trade Centre. He says he had no context about the situation in that period of time, he could not understand what was going on. By the time he arrived for his next class the following period, he says he was informed that a second plane had been flown into the buildings.  In that moment, he and the rest of his class watched the replays of the tragedy still confused as to what, why and how this event had happened. He said he was friends with several students who were of Saudi and Pakistani descent. They were segregated by nationality, meaning the middle easterners were separated from the Americans. Apart from this, they were subjected to hate and became victims of bullying due to the actions of Al-Quaeda. Mr. Weir felt inclined to make the point to them that he would stick up for the regardless of the circumstances. 

9/11 brought many repercussions as it relates to foreign conflict. Mr Weir mentions a family friend of his, who recently graduated from the US military. He spoke about the irony in the fact that his friend may be deployed in the Middle East as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack he witnessed fifteen years ago as a teenager.

In his final remakes he spoke about the comparison between his exposure to terrorism versus that of the people living in Palestine and Israel where terrorism is a daily threat.

“…for 16 years of my life I have never come into immediate interactions with that…it was a total game changer in that regard.”

Also, 9/11, in particular has left a mark on many lives of people who were around at that time and people who merely witnessed the event unfold on the television. This event has changed many policies such as airport security and moreover is one of the more formative events that has occurred in the last 20 years.

“…its realistic that in his time, he will be deployed in the middle east and knowing that some element of his deployment is because of something that happened fifteen years ago…”

“…anyone who was old enough…and understands the gravity of the event probably remembers where they were then…”