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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature and Philosophy

  • Matthew 13:45-46, the Pearl of Great Price: The reference to the "pearl of great price" (8.16) is an allusion to parable found in the Gospel of Matthew: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson (Preface.28)
  • William Ellery Channing (Preface.28)
  • George S. Hillard (Preface.28)
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Preface. 28)
  • Alcott, almost certainly Bronson Alcott, neglectful father of Louisa May Alcott (Preface.28)

Historical Figures

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