How are literary devices used in this passage from The Scarlet Letter?  Arthur Dimmesdale gazed into Hester's face with a look in which hope and joy shone out, indeed, but with fear betwixt them, and a kind of horror at her boldness, who had spoken what he vaguely hinted at, but dared not speak. But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness, as vast, as intricate, and shadowy as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticizing all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers--stern and wild ones--and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.

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Hawthorne's work, The Scarlet Letter, has remained one of the best American novels precisely because of the richness of language and depth of theme throughout the novel. This passage, which describes Dimmesdale and Hester, creates a start contrast to reveal Dimmesdale and Hester as foils in many regards. Although the two characters are obviously deeply intertwined and have similarities, they have responded to the situation of Hester's "scarlet letter" in vastly different ways. Such a contrast sets the scene for the other literary techniques that Hawthorne utilizes in the passage.

Another literary device that is used is simile. Hawthorne compares Hester to a "wild Indian" when he says, "Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods." Hester's shirking of convention removes her from the society of Boston to the point of being more closely related to a native than a European.

Similarly, Hawthorne employs metaphor to...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 592 words.)

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