Thesis StatementI am having a problem forming a thesis statement. What i am trying to point out is that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses imagery and symbolism to convey his fascination with death and...

Thesis Statement

I am having a problem forming a thesis statement. What i am trying to point out is that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses imagery and symbolism to convey his fascination with death and decay. I would use his choice of character names like Dimm-esdale and Chilling-worth. He also uses dark colors and specific wording.

Another avenue was to cover the effects of sin of a character like Chillingworth, effects like how he degrades over time

Yet still a third avenue was the use of symbols to explain how sin can isolate a person from society.

I simply cannot formulate the thesis.

Can you please help?

Elizabeth

Asked on by emcadams

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

What about centralizing your ideas with the cogent suggestions of the previous post around Hawthorne's theme of secret sin?   For, it is the hypocrisy of the characters Chillingworth, whose soul grows black like the weed he has gathered from an unmarked grave, and Dimmesdale, whose soul is tortured by the mistaken perception of him as "saintly' by his congregation, that leads to their "decay."  

[e.g. Note how Chillingworth decays as he continues his path of vengeance and the imagery and symbolism increases with this decay.] 

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What you seem to be looking for is one idea that links imagery and symbolism to sin, death, and decay.  It seems to me that these are closely related enough to be grouped together in one thesis statement.  Here are two possible ways to do this:

Hawthorne's use of imagery and symbolism gives the reader a world of sin, death, and decay.

A world of sin, death, and decay are evoked with Hawthorne's use of imagery and symbolism.

However, perhaps there is a larger idea to be explored here.  In Hawthorne's world, sin is what leads to death and decay, and certainly, from a theological perspective, it is "original sin" that leads to decay and death for all of us (if one subscribes to that theological perspective, which surely was the case in Hawthorne's time and is to this day, for many people.)  So there is a strong connection to be made between these, far more than a connection with literary devices.  After all, "The wages of sin is death" is a quote, I believe from the New Testament.  You might be able to work that into your essay, I would think.  You could establish the causal connection Hawthorne makes in your essay.  Here is one way you could express that in a thesis statement:

Hawthorne uses imagery and symbolism in his stories and novels to show us that that sin leads us to death and decay.

However you choose to explore these ideas, I have a feeling it is going to be an interesting paper!

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