foreshadowing · Foreshadowing is minimal, because the symbols tend to coincide temporally with events, enriching their meaning rather than anticipating their occurrence
narrator · The narrator is an unnamed customhouse surveyor who writes some two hundred years after the events he describes took place. He has much in common with Hawthorne but should not be taken as a direct mouthpiece for the author’s opinions.
tense · The narrator employs the past tense to recount events that happened some two hundred years before his time, but he occasionally uses the present tense when he addresses his audience
rising action · Dimmesdale stands by in silence as Hester suffers for the “sin” he helped to commit, though his conscience plagues him and affects his health. Hester’s husband, Chillingworth, hides his true identity and, posing as a doctor to the ailing minister, tests his suspicions that Dimmesdale is the father of his wife’s child, effectively exacerbating Dimmesdale’s feelings of shame and thus reaping revenge