What is custom house in scarlet letter?

Asked by: Thomas Lewis  |  Last update: 29 June 2021
Score: 4.7/5 (33 votes)

A nameless narrator (who has a similar biography to Hawthorne) describes his job as chief executive officer of a Custom House, the place where taxes were paid on imported goods. The narrator describes his Custom House colleagues as "wearisome old souls" and Salem, the town where it was located, as old and run-down.

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Correspondingly, What is the purpose of the Custom House in The Scarlet Letter?

'The Custom House' seems to be an effort to persuade the reader to regard The Scarlet Letter as truth rather than fiction. The narrator tells us he got the story of The Scarlet Letter from documents he found in the old surveyor's office.

Keeping this in consideration, What is the purpose of the Custom House introduction?. Finally, the preface serves as means of authenticating the novel by explaining that Hawthorne had discovered in the Salem Custom House the faded scarlet A and the parchment sheets that contained the historical manuscript on which the novel is based.

Also asked, Do I need to read the Custom House in The Scarlet Letter?

Therefore, it is up to the reader whether they wish to skip "The Custom House", however, an advice would be to at least read it, even if it is after reading the novel, because you may experience the "full circle effect" once you read about how this unnamed narrator "stumbled upon" Hester's story.

How did Hawthorne describe the Custom House?

The Custom House is, in fact, an airy, handsome structure, flooded with light. This is characteristic of Federal period buildings. Hawthorne does recognize these qualities when he describes the building as "a spacious edifice of brick" and mentions the lofty height of the ceiling in his office.

16 related questions found

What is a custom house?

A custom house or customs house was traditionally a building housing the offices for a jurisdictional government whose officials oversaw the functions associated with importing and exporting goods into and out of a country, such as collecting customs duty on imported goods.

Is the scarlet letter A true story?

No, The Scarlet Letter is not a true story. However, author Nathaniel Hawthorne took actual events and attitudes of Puritan America revealed in historical records and infused them into his work, exposing elements of truth and lending credibility to his historical novel.

Who wore the scarlet letter?

The Letter in The Scarlet Letter

Hester Prynne is the main character who is forced to wear the scarlet letter after giving birth to her daughter. Hester's daughter is a result of her affair with another important character, Arthur Dimmesdale, who is not her husband.

Is the scarlet letter hard to read?

The Scarlet Letter can be a difficult read even for advanced students, due to the vocabulary level and the allegorical nature of the story being told in the novel.

Is Hester Prynne a real person?

Hester Prynne, central character of Hawthorne's classic The Scarlet Letter, stems from a distant past (where names like “Hester” weren't considered weird), and it's a shock to realize she was probably inspired by a real person: Elizabeth Pain, a woman who had a child out of wedlock and was later accused of murdering ...

What best characterizes Pearl's character?

4 of 5 What best characterizes Pearl's character?
  • Quiet.
  • Gentle.
  • Tormented.
  • Impish.

Why does the narrator drop the scarlet letter?

Why does the narrator drop the scarlet letter? He worries that it will corrupt him. He is surprised by the sudden appearance of a ghost. It is covered in dust and spiders.

What is the tone of the Custom House?

Tone: Note the frequent use of humor in “The Custom House.” Much of it is created via sarcasm, irony, and litotes. One might even argue that a lot of this introduction rises to the level of satire—intended to alert readers to the problems, and perhaps inspire them to work for change.

What does Hester look like in The Scarlet Letter?

Hester is physically described in the first scaffold scene as a tall young woman with a "figure of perfect elegance on a large scale." Her most impressive feature is her "dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam." Her complexion is rich, her eyes are dark and deep, and her regular ...

Why does pearl not recognize her mother when she sees her with Dimmesdale in the forest?

Why does Pearl not recognize her mother when she sees her with Dimmesdale in the forest? Hester has removed the scarlet letter. Hester has removed her cap to expose her long hair. ... Mistress Hibbins has cast a spell on Hester, changing her appearance.

What is The Old Manse in The Scarlet Letter?

The Old Manse to which Hawthorne refers is a historically-famous dwelling located in Concord, Massachusetts, which was built in the 1770's by Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandfather, the Reverend William Emerson.

What is the main message of the scarlet letter?

In The Scarlet Letter, the idea of sin and punishment is the main theme of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery.

What does the scarlet letter A stand for?

Originally intended to mark Hester as an adulterer, the “A” eventually comes to stand for “Able.” Finally, it becomes indeterminate: the Native Americans who come to watch the Election Day pageant think it marks her as a person of importance and status.

How does Hester die?

Dimmesdale, leaving the church after his sermon, sees Hester and Pearl standing before the town scaffold. He impulsively mounts the scaffold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing a scarlet letter seared into the flesh of his chest. ... When Hester dies, she is buried next to Dimmesdale.