Transcending the Untranscendable German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” Nietzsche’s proclamation would be in direct opposition to Puritan societies of the 1600s. Throughout history, social movements have often been led by society’s youth. The Free Speech Movement of the 20th century originated on a college campus, and spread rapidly across the country, inspiring copious amounts of youth activism in protesting the Vietnam War. As Nietzsche suggests, a governing body is at great fault when they encourage and require conformity from their youth. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne exposes these same structural flaws of strict Puritan community and the inherent, inevitable …show more content…
However, the system’s uncompromising and authoritarian nature never thwarts Pearl, the novel’s sole child figure and a perpetual embodiment of her mother’s sin, from staying true to her bold, imaginative personality. Pearl, Hawthorne’s version of a child who defies all societal expectations in an alienating world, is both a testament to youth’s capability to rebel from and transcend oppression and a precursor of early Transcendentalism. Pearl’s behavior and physical appearance are both contrary to the expectations of Puritan doctrine. Born the daughter of Hester Prynne, the ignominious figure of sin in the town, Pearl is innately susceptible to society’s judgement: “The child could not be made amenable to rules. In giving her existence, a great law had been broken, and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder” (). Despite embodying her mother’s
Chris McCandless was a young and adventurous man, and at age twenty two, he set out to travel on his own in the American wilderness with only a ten pound bag of rice, a plant guide, a rifle with ammunition, and a camera. There’s much debate about this boy and his character, but a frequently asked question is whether he really embodied transcendentalism or if he was just a priveleged boy on an unprepared and reckless mission. Throughout Into the Wild, a nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer, his actions and reasoning are revealed through his adventures and thoughts. By the time Krakauer's journalistic exploration is over, McCandless is proven to just be a man who follows many transcendentalist influences. Chris McCandless grew up disagreeing with
A Soon to Be Transcendentalist What is a transcendentalist? How is Chris “Alexander” McCandless a “true” transcendentalist? A transcendentalist is someone who believes in a philosophy that consists of being a non-conformist, being one with nature, and rejecting materialism. Throughout Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, it just occurs that McCandless achieves all of the above.
Nature Is Real Life Society could stress us with fake desires but, “In the woods, we return to reason and faith.” (Emerson 243) In the book, Into the Wild, John Krakauer documents Chris McCandless, fighting to find truth in the nature away from society. Ralph Waldo Emerson's views of finding truth in nature include leaving society, noticing life around yourself, and understanding that nature is filled with truth. Chris McCandless is driven by the transcendentalist ideal of finding self-truth in nature.
“The scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it.” (120) Hawthorne’s description of the distorted scarlet letter illustrates the townspeople’s prejudiced view of
Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous American author from the antebellum period, notices the emphasis on individual freedoms in the works by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists during his residency in the Brook Farm’s community. In response to these ideas, Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter, a historical novel about Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale’s lives as they go through ignominy, penance, and deprecation from their Puritan community to express their strong love for each other. Their love, even though it is true, is not considered as holy nor pure because of Hester past marriage to Roger Chillingworth, and thus Hester gained the Scarlet Letter for being an adulterer. Hawthorne utilizes biblical allusions, such as the stories of
“So many people live in unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation” (57). Chris McCandless was determined to not be one of those men, he strived for a life in solitude, away from the demands of society. For that reason he went on an epic transcendental experience that took him from Mexico to Alaska. Along the way, he met and made an impact on peoples’ lives, people like Wayne Westenberg and Ronald Franz. Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild discusses Chris’s journey, and makes the reader question Chris’s reasons for going out into the wild.
Throughout the passage from The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Hester’s baby, Pearl, to illuminate the theme of beauty in a dark place. Once released from prison, Hester, an adulterer, becomes a public spectacle. Through this hard time, Hester has her daughter Pearl to soothe her and to bring her strength and hope for a better future. By using vivid imagery and juxtaposition, Hawthorne depicts Pearl as Hester’s happiness, light, and beauty during a sad and lonely time. While in Prison, Hester is all alone and depressed.
(Hawthorne, 76). The sin Hester commits is so destructive to her mind, that she thinks the only way she will every be able to live a proper life is if she stays. Hester’s daily abuse from the community will allow her to cleanse her guilty conscience, and redeem herself in the society. Pearl is a continuous reminder of Hester’s guilt, she is the result of her sin. While Pearl grows up Hester is fearful of the child and the darkness she carried with her.
Puritan’s harsh beliefs represented the beginning of the Nineteenth Century in the newly colonized America. Their community ruled with an iron fist: unforgiving, pitiless, stern. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses his disagreement with puritan priorities by revealing the hypocrisy widely practiced throughout their community. Hawthorne’s utilization of dim diction aids in the establishment of his scornful tone, while inclusion of symbols and intricate juxtaposition all serve to accentuate the Puritan’s duplicity. All these factors combine to develop a critical tone which rebukes puritan society.
Was Chris McCandless a true transcendentalist? Transcendentalism is a system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures. In Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, McCandless is viewed as a transcendentalist.
“The child’s own nature had been born amiss, —the effluence of her mother’s lawless passion, —and often impelled Hester to ask, in bitterness of heart, whether it were for ill or good that the poor little creature had been born at all” (Hawthorne, 541). This shows how much she has internalized the judgment of her peers. In many other chapters, Hester perceives Pearl as a positive outcome of her sin, but in this particular quotation, Hester is questioning if it was even worth it at all. These dark thoughts and feelings continue in this chapter when Hester contemplates
Hawthorne's strongest criticisms of Puritan society show themselves in "Young Goodman Brown," "The Minister's Black Veil," and The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne knows well that no one is free from sin,
Kevin Sun Mrs. Cohen English 2CP --D February 22, 2018 Another Perspective The film Into the Wild is based on the life of Chris McCandless, a young man who rejected the consumerist society of America in order to live a more simple life. Through his travels, Chris carried essays by Transcendentalist philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, suggesting that McCandless is impacted by Transcendentalist ideals. Two key tenets of Transcendentalism that clearly influenced McCandless’ choices are the value of simplicity and the importance of self-reliance.
The Scarlet Letter, a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, functions as an evaluation of Puritan ideas, customs, and culture during the 17th century. Through this evaluation, we can get a good idea of what core values and beliefs the Puritans possessed, as well as the actions they take in cases of adversity brought about by “sinners”. Some Puritan virtues created stark divisions between groups of people, some of which led to discrimination under certain circumstances. One of the most prominent of these is the treatment and standards of men and women, a concept that surfaced during some of the major points in The Scarlet Letter. The divisions that were created by Puritan standards of men and women played a great role in shaping the plot of The Scarlet Letter, determining the fate of many of the characters.
Amanda Vicente The Scarlet Letter Reading Response AP English Language Period J 16 August 2016 Journal Entry 1: Chapters 1-2 In The Scarlet Letter, the author sets a mood from the beginning of the book. The setting is old and beat up in front of an aged wooden prison with judgmental Puritans ready to tear a women apart. The Puritans are hypocrites and the author portrays that in the story.