In the novel Mad Shadows by Marie-Claire Blais and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, isolation was used as a major theme to sculpt and reveal the characters true identity. The behaviour of each central character towards isolation crafted their fates. The Scarlet Letter portrays the psychological effects of alienation on the characters. Mad shadows illustrates an unprincipled world where beauty is skin only deep and love is measured by material possessions. The main character in The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, committed adultery with the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.
Hester was outcast by the puritan community that deemed her a presence of evil. Hester refused to reveal the other adulterer. In doing so, Arthur Dimmesdales quietly suffered until he finally completed penance. Roger Chillingsworth whom Hester was lawfully wed to, swore to reveal her lover thus poisoning his soul with revenge. Hester wore a scarlet letter A_ _as punishment, estranging her from her community. This was to remind her and everyone of her sinful deed. She had no communication with the rest of the world either than her trips to receive and deliver embroidery orders.
Hester lived in a cottage remote from the sphere of society. The dark forest provided Hester with private surroundings in which she may search for truth and escape the glare of her community, although dejected. The consequence of her pure and innate impulse had to be taken on with humiliation in exile. Arthur Dimmesdale imposed desolation upon himself. Dimmesdale was incapable and reluctant to openly make public his sin. He therefore continued to be troubled by his own shame and as a result felt inner isolation from the community.
Order custom essay Mad Shadows and the Scarlet Letter with free plagiarism report
His secret also forbade him from being with Hester and his daughter, separating him from his family. Dimmesdale saw himself as an immoral person. He reprimanded himself with neglect and hunger. When Dimmesdale finally frees himself from guilt and shame by confessing to the public, he yields to illness and dies. Roger Chillingworth undergoes a masked and vague form of estrangement and seclusion. He is physically divorced from Hester and feared by the townspeople, who believed that he was evil. Chillingworth, obsessed with seeking Hester’s secret lover, became mentally detached from himself.
He gradually loses his self to the devil. Impiety causes Chillingworth to ultimately withdraw from his prior self. He lived secluded in a world which he believed only holds bitterness and anger. The central characters in The Scarlet Letter manipulated and contributed to the theme of isolation through their personalities. They were secluded from one another, themselves and their community. Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth endured differtent types of alienation and isolation and to various degrees. Hester is segregated from society. Dimmesdale felt alone due to the secrecy of his sin.
Chillingworth surrendered himself to evil and gradually withers away. Mad Shadows focuses on a family that live in a corrupt perception of true beauty and love. Louise, who only valued material possessions and outer beauty, disregarded her unsightly daughter while pampering her handsome son. Her shallowness planted a jealous seed in Isabelle-Marie preventing her from experiencing happiness. Patrice on the other hand lived in superficiality and never had a deeper meaning to life or himself. These characters are isolated from nature and each other consequently preventing true happiness.
Isabelle-Marie was the unsightly daughter of Louise. Her appearance deemed her unworthy of her mother’s love and affection. Isabelle-Marie was assigned to work in the farms preoccupying her time and preventing her from socializing. She was separated from the family because of the way she looked. Patrice couldn’t sympathize with his sister due to his idiocy. Her mother’s mistreatment spawned hatred for herself. Isabelle-Marie was wrapped in jealousy preventing her from loving her brother. Insecurities inspired her to lie to her husband ultimately losing him in the end.
She had a daughter, like her she was ugly and her lack of love and acceptance for herself prevented her for genuinely loving her child. After she took revenge on her unloving mother Isabelle-Marie was still unfulfilled, everything was gone except for her, soon after she took her life. Patrice was treated like a baby by his mother. His beauty was her possession and was the only thing she loved of him. Patrice never knew anybody but Louise. He felt no real love from his family and was never understood. His mother spoke for him, acted on his behalf, and thought for him.
Patrice was detached from his true self for he did not need to ponder anything outside of his mother and his beauty. When Patrice’s face was disfigured he lost his mother’s love and was left in an asylum. Unable to cope with his loneliness he eventually escaped the asylum to go back to his mother, only to find the remains of his life burned. His upbringing kept his soul and purpose empty. Ultimately Patrice lived in a hollow shell. Louise was an empty and excessive doll. Her concerns were only of her trim body and Patrice’s beauty, which she saw as her own beauty.
External beauty made her self-absorbed not allowing her to naturally love Isabelle-Marie. Her marriage to Lanz served as a union of two faded and shallow lovers. Lanz only saw Louise for her beauty and riches. Her demanding husband forced Louise to give less of herself to her son, driving a wedge between them. Louise’s incapability to naturally lover her children kept herself detached from them. In the end she died alone amongst her possessions. The family lived in an immoral world. Isabelle-Marie destroyed her life and family due to her self-loathing.
She was not able to completely lover her daughter for she was her mirror. Patrice lived in a world without living. When everything he knew was in ruins, he found his soul and peace in the lake. Louise only loving material possession condemned her children lives. The main characters segregation from each other didn’t let them escape the feeling of loneliness in their present lives. Marie-Claire Blais and Nathaniel Hawthorne depicted the characters inner feelings of suffering and hurt through relentless loneliness and seclusion. Both authors used two different forms of estrangement, isolation and alienation.
The central characters in both novels experience different settings of isolation, which they developed with their personalities. The Scarlet Letter emphasized the suffering of the characters in psychological aspect. Mad Shadows_ _focused on the shallowness of the heart. The main characters in both novels undergo a variety of changes which eventually sealed their fates. *Mad Shadows and The* Scarlet Letter Theme of isolation Agnes Palaganas April 8, 2010 ENG18Y1- James Meade Reference: Blais,Marie-Claire. Mad Shadows. This New Canadian Library:2008 Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Penguin Books:2003
Cite this Page
Mad Shadows and the Scarlet Letter. (2018, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/mad-shadows-and-the-scarlet-letter/
Run a free check or have your essay done for you