When you think of a Puritan society, what comes to your mind? Perfect, flawless, and a religion based on following God? Well, that is what it says on paper, but is it really that perfect? Throughout the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne jabs at the Puritans in an attempt to portray just how flawed they really are. After reading the book, you want to think that Hawthorne is telling the story of sinning in a Puritan society. However, as you dig deeper, you will see Hawthorne’s true purpose for writing the novel. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses irony to criticize the Puritan ideals. Hester’s Scarlet “A” is used to show how imperfect the Puritans are. The narrator describes Hester’s scarlet letter when he says: “On the breast of her gown,
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Puritan literature largely consists of poems, sermons, and personal journals and served a purpose such as to teach or inform instead of entertaining. The Puritans generally valued religion and simplicity in their society and thusly much of their lives focused on just that. I felt that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s account of puritan society through his story The Minister’s Black Veil differed from that of original puritan literature. While puritan literature was nonfictional and centers on enlightenment and religion in their daily life, Hawthorne wrote a fictional account to describe the puritan values. Because of this difference I feel that original puritan literature is far more accurate portrayal of puritan culture.
Imagine being judged for the choices you make. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry the characters in these three novels search for independence under unfortunate circumstances. This results in difficult decision making situations that they are later judged for. However, Hester confronts her sin, the Younger family moves into a white neighborhood house and the Wall’s kids move away from their abusive parents.
According to them, adultery is the biggest sin and if anyone was found committing this kind of sin then they will be punished and have to wear “A” on their dress for committing the shameful act. In the novel, Hester lifted the weight of the scarlet letter on her shoulders because the Puritan community forced her to wear the letter “A”. This demonstrates the importance of geography and demonstrating the community’s religious viewpoints because of its place. If the story had taken place somewhere else then Hester would not have to through this agony. Geography is the device that makes the story.
The appearance of the Hester’s scarlet letter that she always wears is described as, Fine red cloth surrounded with elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. it was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy,… (Hawthorne
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the Scarlet letter to display the sin and indecency people see Hester as. The detail represents ,the deep beauty Hester has inside although most people do not see her as a beutiful women. The deep red is a representation of adultery which shows her being an oncast from society. The symbol of the letter “A” is repetitive throughout the novel and grows with Hester and overcomes this with time as people start to see her as a person again and not just a adulterer. Hester acknowledges her sin in her puritan faith but swears to secrecy on the father of Pearl.
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
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.
Hawthorne uses chapter twenty-two, “The Procession”, to put all the pieces of the puzzle of the conflict together. This is where the reader remotely begins to understand how the ending of the novel will come to an end. To reveal the conclusion to the reader, Hawthorne uses rhetorical devices such as, irony, simile, and diction. To expose the irony in this chapter, Hawthorne writes of Dimmesdale’s sermon. As Dimmesdale speaks, “if the auditor listened intently, and for the purpose, he could detect the same cry of pain.”
By wearing the “A,” Hester was publicly humiliated, however, her development in character causes a change in the meaning of the Scarlet Letter, which leads her to taking pride in the letter as it grows a part of her. After Hester’s sin the Puritan community places a false
The scarlet letter has different meanings throughout the story and to each of the characters. The original meaning of the scarlet “A” is “Adultery”, but later in the story the townspeople and other characters begin to interpret it in different ways, each of them with their own idea and belief. Hester starts being more active in society and that makes the townspeople think differently about the scarlet “A”. The scarlet letter doesn´t keep the same meaning throughout the whole story, it changes with Hester´s actions and the Puritans beliefs. Hester starts being more active in society, she starts helping the poor and nursing the sick.
Puritans felt redemption could not be achieved because the sins were so wrong and so evil. Hawthorne used redemption to help develop the characters and the ideas the reader had on them. The whole book happened because of a sin that occurred, and that sin was the cause of many actions of the characters. Throughout “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorne
In the “Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays hypocrisy of the Puritan society, where the protagonist Hester Prynne face many consequences of her actions and the how she tries to redeem herself to the society. During the seventeenth puritans believe that it is their mission to punish the ones who do not follow God’s word and it is their job to stop those from sinning. Therefore, the hypercritical puritan society punishes Hester harshly for committing adultery, but in Hester’s mind, she believes that what she did was not a sin but acts of love for her man. Eventually, she redeems herself by turning her crime into an advantage to help those in need, yet the Puritan society still view her as a “naughty bagger.” (Hawthorne 78)
Receiving the scarlet letter changed every aspect of Hester’s life. Especially at the start of the story, the letter symbolized the solitude and great suffering Hester faced just because of a letter placed on her bosom. The “A” also depicted how no one viewed Hester the same way as before her peccant actions. “…she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance” (Hawthorne 109). The pejorative community Hester lived in never saw Hester as the beautiful, young woman she was, but now, as a horrible fiend.
Nathaniel Hawthorne did not always speak positively toward the Puritans, but he has respect for the group. The main symbol that stands out is the scarlet letter “A” that was stuck on Hester Prynne for her actions of adultery which is a theme for this book. Another symbol is the rose bush that grew right outside of the old, rusty, decaying prison
In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne effectively conforms to the conventions of the gothic genre for the purpose of characterizing the Puritan society as oppressive, portraying the hypocrisy found within the society and highlighting the consequences for not confessing