“My purpose is first to try and assess the procedures in which Hawthorne invites and defines the reduction implied by choice by focusing on the deceptive techniques he resorts to in the text, in order to demonstrate that his implicit authorial stand is precisely to make choice impossible."
“His refusal to move from the possible or the plausible to the actual and the determined guarantees him the freedom from engagement while inversely inducing the reader to make the necessary connections and commitments and simultaneously resisting his expectations of some finalized certainty.”
“Gaps play a fundamental role in the deceptive tactics at work in the novel: crucial hermeneutic clues, which would serve as central evidence to the solving of the enigma, are thus withheld, making the task of interpreting, i.e. filling the gaps, a baffling aleatory one.”
“The systematic deferring of disclosure is here brought to its final stage in a highly problematic closure which raises may questions: is the enigma meant to remain undisclosed?… and is the indeterminacy of the narrative a sign that Hawthorne’s values are… “positively all blanks?”
“How can the reader then follow the instructions of the narrator, that is, choose between the different alternatives? The authors strategy of equivocation, indirection, and evasion, and his duplicitous offer of multiple choice catch him [the reader] in a double bind, ‘coiling [him] within the unreliable terms of the text’ (Hunter 35).”
“The exclusion of contraries, fundamental in antithesis, disappears in oxymoron: opposites are entwined, negation and affirmation conflict with each other yet confirm and reinforce one another in a principle of exchange rather than exclusion...”
“But it builds up to the oxymoronic formula “exquisitely painful,” which combines the agony and the beauty, the dignity and the disgrace simultaneously perceived in the vision of Hester Prynne.”
“Oxymoron is thus the figure of the Pentecostal gift, touching the heart beyond words, saying the unsayable, inspired and inspiring.”
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Public - 1/16/17, 8:40 PM