Describe the purposes of rhetorical devices used in The Scarlet Letter in chapter 7. I have identified the allusion to the Garden of Eden and Pearl's request for the rose, but I would like some more explanation  of the rhetorical devices that Hawthorne uses in the chapter.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Rhetorical devices are persuasive devices.

In chapter 7, Hester sets out with Pearl to the governor's mansion to plead with him that she should be allowed to keep custody of Pearl. She has heard rumors that people want to remove Pearl from her care under the theory that her adultery makes her an unfit mother.

Hawthorne wants to persuade the reader to be on Hester's side as she makes her way to face the governor. To do that, Hawthorne uses an allusion to the David and Goliath story from the Bible. This puts Hester in the position of a David, the underdog facing a far more powerful opponent. It is a match:

between the public, on the one side, and a lonely woman, backed by the sympathies of nature

However, we also notice Hester's assurance and courage, for to her it seems "scarcely" unequal to go up alone against the combined weight of the community.

Further, in a novel in which nature is often depicted as a good vis-a-vis the artificial and stifling constraints of the Puritan social order, Hester is...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 868 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 12, 2019
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team