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Vicissitude Is Not for the Better

22 Mar

vicissitude – n. change of circumstances, often for the worse

Classical Usage:  After their meeting Hester in the woods, Dimmesdale is in awe of the change he was about to encounter, “So great a vicissitude in his life could not at once be received as real.”  I think it’s interesting that Dimmesdale considers this change to be for the better, and yet Hawthorne chose a word with negative connotations.  Did it not necessarily have those some associations, or is he sending his readers a message?

Classically Mad Usage:  I don’t want to contemplate a vicissitude, I love the life I’ve been given.

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter

 

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