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I am supposed to explain this quote from the Scarlet Letter:

"To the untrue man, the whole universe is false, ---it is impalpable, --- it shrinks to nothing within his grasp."

Can somebody give me some ideas on what this quote's meaning is?


Picture this: Hester living a life of shame, quietly keeping the secret of her child's existance, being shunned by neighbors...while Dimmesdale preached Godly sermons to the sinful, living a painlful inner life with his secrets of the past. Now picture Hester standing in public and pointing the finger to the A on her chest, starting to speak the quoted words with her eyes piercing into the abyss of Dimmesdale's eyes.
Powerful stuff.
Hester lived a life of pain in the community, but her soul was in peace. The reverend lived a comfortable life in the community and church, but his soul was wretched and in pain. LIfe was shrinking to nothing within his grasp.
So, in the words Shakespear wrote..
"To thineself be true; thou canst not then be false to any man". These were the words of advice given by the Polonious to his son Laertes in Hamlet.
It is worthy advice for any young person to aim to achieve.

I'll give you three examples. Mr. Dimmesdale is false, he doesn't reveal he is an adulter, which makes him sick, he want to tell people and confess so bad. He is false to people in the town and so they are not true either. On the other hand Hester is true to the town and for that she becomes good, learns from it, and when she wears the letter she can feel others sins. Also, Mr. Dimmesdale doesn't know the identity of Chillingworth (world false because he's false) When Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl stand on the scaffold in the middle of the night in the sky an A appears (he's true, the world is true.)
Just some thoughts, I have to write an entire paper on this quote.

  • english -

    english,school,reading,writing all suck

  • english -

    haha yes. the scarlet letter has got to be THE most boring book ever writen

  • english -

    I bet that is you morris (ALEXANDER, Saturday, november 1,2008 at 4:32 pm)

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