The Scarlet Letter - Study Guide Preface Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Scarlet Letter.
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Preface Summary

The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, admits to having caused considerable excitement regarding his introductory essay, "The Custom-House." Having been fired under the umbrella of a minor scandal engendered by the Whig Party, Hawthorne is notably not happy with what he has been through.

His characterization of William Lee, the Permanent Inspector, apparently greatly angered the family. There are not many denizens of the Custom-House that escape his biting wit. Nonetheless, Hawthorne states, irrevocably, having re-examined the introductory carefully, that it could not have been written in a "kindlier spirit" and therefore will be republishing it as a whole.

Preface Analysis

Despite Hawthorne's lack of remorse, his characterization of William Lee as a creature without intellect, but with all the instincts of a four-footed beast, remains a hilarious satirical characterization.

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This section contains 126 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Scarlet Letter Study Guide
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The Scarlet Letter from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.