Beyond Nature and Subjectivity——The Issues of Space in Nathaniel Hawthorne' s The Scarlet Letter

Xiaohan Mei


In Nathaniel Hawthorne' s literary creation, the usages of space are usually highlighted by Hawthorne' s arrangement of the settings, scenes and social background. In The Scarlet Letter, according to the spatial turn in 20th spatial theories—especially the spatial theory of Lefebvre, Nathaniel Hawthorne constructed three spaces in this romance novel: the material space, spiritual space and social space. These three kinds of space are not simply juxtaposed, but are intervening, intermingling, superimposing each other, and sometimes even contradicting each other. It is through the construction of space that Hawthorne combines serious moral content with excellent artistic expressions, giving The Scarlet Letter its powerful vitality and enduring charm. It is also through the construction of space that the theme and meaning of the novel about the human spiritual ecological crisis is better manifested, and shows Hawthorne's contemplation and transcendence of the real world. In the process of interpreting the space construction of The Scarlet Letter, readers can appreciate the narrative techniques and artistic effects of the text, and then examine the social reality that the novel should express.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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