What is a metaphor in chapter sixteen of The Scarlet Letter?

Expert Answers
chicagorilke23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A metaphor in chapter 16 of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is that of the "Black Man." Mistress Hibbins and others allude to the "Black Man" as being evil or a representation of the devil. It is also suggested that Hester's Prynne's scarlet letter is put there by him. Pearl hears these rumors and when she and Hester are out one night, Pearl asks her mother if the man approaching is the "Black Man." However, the man approaching turns out to be Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister. As Pearl runs off to play while her mother and Dimmesdale talk, she wonders if the "Black Man" put a mark on Dimmesdale as well. She considers this because he is often seen grasping his chest. The idea is that the "Black Man" is a metaphor for the sin or evil act committed between Dimmesdale and Hester.

fezziwig eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many metaphors in Chapter XVI; the forest is a metaphor for Prynne's freedom from the hypocrisy and persecution of the colony; the sunshine is a metaphor for Pearl's playmate; the Black Man is a metaphor for the Devil; it can also be a metaphor for the evilness of the men who judged her, but the central metaphor of this chapter is the brook; Pearl compares it to a sad child; Hester compares it to the sad babblings of her soul.

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Letter

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question