The Scarlet Letter Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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What stategies does Hawthorne use to support his purpose in his description of Roger Chillingworth at the beginning of Chapter X of The Scarlet Letter?

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In his desire to avenge himself against the man who has brought on his inner turmoil and disgrace, Roger Chillingworth begins his investigation of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale as "a pure and upright man." However, as he proceeds to violate the secrets of the minister's heart, Chillingworth becomes fascinated with his invasion.  Now, likened in a simile to a miner searching for gold, Chillingworth seeks the vein that holds great wealth of knowledge.

So obsessed does Chillingworth become that light seems to glimmer in his eyes as he searches deeply, with a "ghastly fire" of desire much like that of Paul Bunyan's gleaming furnace. Then, after much effort, Chillingworth turns back, discouraged, but ready to try again: 

Then after long search into the minister's dim interior, and turning over many precious materials, in the shape of high aspirations for the welfare of his race....--all of which invaluable gold was perhaps no better than rubbish to the seeker--he...would begin his quest towards another point. 

This description of Chillingworth is an extended metaphor that likens him to a greedy miner seeking gold, who continues to dig and dig. Similes, and light/dark imagery are also employed, literary elements added to enhance this extended metaphor.

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