Let h= Hester

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Let h= Hester

Catherine Durante


gSoclet me get this straight Professor Hawthorne. I should let ehf be all variables in the subspace eHesterf and let edf be all variables in the subset eDimmesdale.f Addition of the subset and subspace give mec o yes; the valid epf constant encompassing all variables in the vector space ePearlf with the subscript letter esf of course. Now I get it!h This is just a snippet of my gcranial diagramh while reading Hawthornefs The Scarlet Letter. This coming from a girl who looks at her alarm clock in the morning and does not see 9:30 but 30/9=3.33. So, when I read the first page of gThe Custom House,h I saw a linear matrix on every page; every stamp in the custom house, every page in that pile of old papers, even that old scrap of cloth was a column of coefficients. I approached the novel to find that thread, that one theory that ties all the other equations together. At times, I enjoy the helping hand, the hint at the end of the question. However, the majority of the time I want the credit to be only due to me. Of course, Hawthorne does not cater to my approach with his diverse interpretations of a solitary object, person or concept. Yet, my mind does not see this method as an obstacle but rather a problem set to review my knowledge. How does a future mathematician see the daily actions of this Massachusetts settlement? Can I separate the knowns from the unknowns in this adulterous formula? First thing that came to mindc x= Hester, that is for surec but is there more than one value for xc can I apply it to more than one polynomial?

Section one: The Prison-Door. Already, I feel my desk is empty. I have my problem (the novel), my paper and pen (the mind). But I feel I need something more. Professor wrote, gThe founders of a new colonychave invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prisonh (36). It seems the villagers have accepted the unavoidable evils and inevitable deaths in the colony. The problem seems to feel it has intimidated me from the start. However, it has not. I do not give up. There is someone in this colony that will defy the boundaries of sin. I will find the answer. So, I get out that extra paper and the text book and lay it next to me on the desk; I do not write on the paper and I do not open the textbook but I feel their presence. Ok, moving onc gcould pity and be kind to himch (36)c AHA! The first equation has arrived.

Section one, problem one: The Rose Bush. Alright Professor Hawthorne, what have we got? You seem to have given me two interpretations of this one object. I pull out Hessfs Law. The Law states that when I am given two equations that seem to be slightly connected from the first glance, I can, instead of dismissing one and choosing the other, combine the two to create the correct equation. Sub-equation one gives the option of the rosebush equaling a plant gthat had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed ith (37). Sub-equation two gives the option of the bush being supernatural, an entity that ghad sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison-doorh (37). Equation one seems to have a concrete answer; the bush is a determined ancient plant. Equation two seems to have a more gfantasticalh explanation; the bush was not planted but magically sprung up beneath the shoes of a courageous woman. I am usually quick to eliminate the irrational explanation (the magical choice). However, I trust Professor Hawthorne enough to know that I should pay attention to even the most unlikely detail. He even left a hint writing, gIt may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrowh (37). My final answer: the rosebush exists. It is concrete vegetation that represents something more than a concrete idea. The red color of the bush shined brighter and bolder when Ann Hutchinson walked past it that those who did not seem to notice, pointed the roses out and named the bush as a symbol of hope in a sinful community.

Section two: The expected, but unwelcome detail. Professor Hawthorne created a pretty tricky problem and always in a tricky problem, you forget about that one small detail in the solution that could threaten the integrity of the entire answer. In chapter three, gThe Recognition,h I am introduced to the nuisance, Roger Chillingworth. He is the major obstacle, outside of the entire Puritan society, that portends Hesterfs happiness. He is the negative sign I forgot to remove in my solution to the enthalpy of formation of nitric acid on my last chemistry test. He is the small gTh I did not put on top of the adjoint matrix on my linear algebra midterm. Sneaky, but necessary to the success of the solution, Chillingworth is not to be trusted. His twisted choice of words when he converses with Hester saying, gI seek no vengeance, plot no evil against theec But Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?h (53). In this case, Hester is now me. She established that Chillingworth is in her life again however, she does not give in to answering him. She chooses not to ignore him but rather faces the turmoil he causes her everyday. That negative sign will not get the best of me and I will put that T down but I will not let either of them manipulate me.

Section three: The function you need but donft want. There is always that one complicated function or graph in trigonometry or geometry that at initial glance you hate. After some time though, after wielding that function in other problems, you come to realize that you need it despite the fact that you hate that you need to use it. For me, it is the y=lnx graph. Dimmesdale is my lnx graph. Hefs cowardly, inwardly tormented and oozes a spineless essence as he utters, gWhat can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea, compel him, as it were-to add hypocrisy to sin?h (49). However, I like Hester and in order for her equation to follow through, she needs Dimmesdale, her love, and thus I need to be acquainted with him too. He is another necessary variable in the formula.

Section four: My least favorite aspect of math. I now return to the gph vector space which happens to encompass the worst exercise known to math; proofs. As I read chapter nineteen, gThe Child at the Brook-side,h I come across a certain passage that reads, gThe ministerc bent forward and impressed [a kiss] on her brow. Hereupon, Pearl broke away from her mother, and running to the brook, stooped over it, and bathed her forehead, until the unwelcome kiss was quite washed offcShe then remained apart, silently watching Hester and the clergymanh (136). My approach to this excerpt is quite different in that I reversed my method; I analyzed as an English major then transposed the interpretation to a mathematical system. Pearlfs disdain for Hester and Dimmesdalefs transformation in the woods suggests that the couple is not proceeding under a new moral code but rather the two are attempting to defy the already established old social rules. My brain immediately turns to proofs; I put in so much work to try to disprove already established theories under the impression I am making my own new mathematical criteria when in reality I am opposing accepted, credible postulates. I wash my hands of this exercise as well.

Section five: My final answer. After all my quantifying, dividing, adding and theorizing I have sorted out the equations, ranked them, manipulated them and found the one answer that fits the last piece of the puzzle. The gAh on Reverend Dimmesdalefs chest was real. In order for the tale of the branded gAh to exist, an ounce of truth must have sparked this legend. The smallest glance is evidence. Someone must have seen the gAh in order for the story to exist. Professor Hawthorne has not given us any clues or equations that would lead us to deduce that Dimmesdale had in his possession a brand with an gAh at the tip. Yes, there are clues that suggest that Dimmesdale engaged in self-mutilation however, the supernatural factors outnumber the realistic factors in the novel, and numbers do not lie. Therefore, I am led to believe the branded gAh came from the internal guilt plaguing Dimmesdalefs body. Mathematics is accuracy. The reason as to why the young man in the custom house still feels the heat of the gAh depends heavily on the concept of infinity. The number sequence, asymptotes, and limits lead to this continuous answer. Thus, the limit as the scarlet letter approaches future generations is . The only question left is, what grade will the professor give me?


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