Please give an example of a thesis statement for an essay about The Scarlet Letter.

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In the final chapter, the narrator outlines several themes; you could choose one and then analyze the ways in which the book supports that theme. For example, he says that one moral we ought to learn from Dimmesdale's experience is to "Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to...

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In the final chapter, the narrator outlines several themes; you could choose one and then analyze the ways in which the book supports that theme. For example, he says that one moral we ought to learn from Dimmesdale's experience is to "Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!" In other words, when we do not show our true, sinful selves to the world, our guilt can eat away at us and make us absolutely miserable. Compare Hester to Dimmesdale: she is, by no means, overjoyed with her experience of being publicly shamed, but at least she does not bear the overwhelming pain of a secret guilt. She is a sinner and she is known as one. You could argue, then, that The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, shows that it is always better to be truthful, even if one is judged negatively by society for it, as seen through the experiences of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale.

Another potential theme conveyed by the text and addressed directly in the final chapter is the idea that "hatred and love" are "the same thing at bottom." The narrator says that each one requires a "high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge"; they both make a person dependent on another; and, when the object of one's love or one's hate leaves, the lover/hater becomes "forlorn" in their absence. For this one, you might analyze the hate Chillingworth feels for Dimmesdale and how each of these three requirements are met. You might also explore how that hatred affects him. You could argue that The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, conveys the idea that love and hate are equally powerful and can cause equal damage to the one who feels them.
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One interesting way to analyze The Scarlet Letter is as an early feminist novel. The novel's protagonist is a strong woman who shoulders the burdens of the two morally and psychologically weaker men who will not allow their weaknesses to be exposed to their insular society.

If this were the approach to the essay, a thesis statement could look like this:

Hawthorne creates an early American feminist novel through the characterization of Hester Prynne; her strength stands in contrast to the weaknesses of her husband and lover.

In the essay, then, there should be textual evidence to contrast Hester's independence and strength with Roger Prynne's malicious victimization of Arthur Dimmesdale and Dimmesdale's shame. Scenes that highlight Hester's strength include when she is released from prison, when she visits Governor Bellingham, and her willingness to keep Chillingworth's identity concealed and Dimmesdale's paternity a secret.

Scenes that highlight the weaknesses of the men include Chillingworth's insistence that Hester not identify him as a cuckold and Dimmesdale's inability, in chapter seventeen, to plan for the future without Hester's input.

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There is much to consider before formulating a thesis statement for Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.  One valid reason is because there are so many viable themes and symbols running throughout the novel.  For the purposes of answering your question, let us use theme as an example.  The whole concept and interpretation of sin, revenge, fate versus free will, guilt and hypocrisy, and judgment are all good workable themes with which to develop your thesis.  Your thesis, of course, depends on what exactly your instructor is asking you to contemplate and critique.

For an example, let us choose judgment as a theme with which to work on a strong thesis statement.  The Scarlet Letter takes place in a very strong religious environment known as Puritanism.  This was a very strict religious code that many lived by during this period in American history.  Generally speaking, whenever there is a very strict religious way of life, there comes with it a plentitude of judgment, whether justifiable or not.  That is what you might want to think about as you form a thesis statement.  For instance, Hester Prynne is the victim of societal judgment to an extreme degree.  After all, Hester is forced to wear a scarlet "A" as a symbol of her adultery.  Then, she is paraded through the streets for others to judge her sin.  What's worse is that suddenly her husband appears ready to seek revenge.  The amount of judgment she is forced to endure is almost unfathomable, especially if you consider her supposed sin from a gender point of view.  Are the rules the same for men as for women during this historical period?  Why or why not? People love to judge and formulate punishments based upon those judgments. Your thesis could go in several directions, but the strongest thesis is one that focuses on a particular aspect.

Here is an example you may want to think about.  Make sure, as with any thesis statement, that you feel comfortable backing up your statement with both textual proof as well as formal critique.  SAMPLE THESIS: In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne suffers unjust punishment at the hands of the townsfolk, her husband, and the rules of the Puritan religion. Within the thesis example above, the writer states his/her argument as to what the essay is going to be about, and what exact direction the paper will take in relation to the theme.  If you happen to be writing a typical five paragraph essay, you will provide your thesis in the introductory paragraph. Then, using the hypothetical three body paragraph ideas from the above thesis, judgment from society, her husband, and her religion, this is how you would construct the following body paragraphs.  Remember that this example is written for a typical five paragraph essay.  You may need to tailor it spcifically depending upon what the instructor is asking.  You can always add more or less body paragraphs depending on the required assignment.

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