Pure Literary Genius

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"But on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him." - Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter - Chapter 1

I don't know exactly why, but every time I read this particular passage, it catches my eye almost immediately.  It doesn't matter to me that I've already read this novel twice in the past.  What matters to me most is the way that Hawthorne has with his words.  Take a read-through just for one second of that passage…Okay, now say them out loud…Do you hear the smoothness with which those words flow together?  Listen again.  Imagine the "delicate gems" of brightly colored roses lighting up the dreary prison door.  Feel the sympathy that these beautiful pieces of Mother Nature's creation have on the "condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom."

Do you hear it now?

I love the way that Nathaniel Hawthorne's words flow together so smoothly, the sounds that they make in a sentence format.  Everything is just so amazing about that passage.  Hawthorne essentially tells that this single beacon of hope sits outside of a prison, allowing the prisoners to hope for a happy ending after their punishment is over, if ever.

To me, that is pure literary genius - how one can say so much in so little words.

1 Comment

"Hawthorne essentially tells that this single beacon of hope sits outside of a prison, allowing the prisoners to hope for a happy ending after their punishment is over, if ever."
This is a really nice interpretation of the rosebush. I agree that this passage does have something eye-catching about it. The clearly symbolic rosebush probably has many meanings. Another meaning could be that the rosebush, which symbolizes all of nature, has the ability to withstand the harshness of man because it is proudly blooming at the front door of a prision filled mainly with destructive people.

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This page contains a single entry by Alexi J. Swank published on September 8, 2010 2:54 PM.

Isn't It Ironic? was the previous entry in this blog.

Mud-Slinging In Puritan New England??? is the next entry in this blog.

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