Puritans In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, written in 1850, continues to transcend time and culture. The novel follows the story of adulterous, Hester Prynne. The Puritan community, in which she lives, ostracises her, and even more so, due to the fact she won’t name her fellow sinner. The Scarlet Letter demonstrates the oppression of the puritanical culture and how society conditions behavior. To fully comprehend the novel, one must know about the history of the Puritans, their beliefs, and possess background knowledge of author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s novel focuses on Puritans in Boston during the seventeenth century. In order to understand the novel, one must understand the Puritan background. In seventeenth century England, the King was the head of the church. The established church was known as the Church of England. In England, the clergy and the government mediated the relationship between God and the individual. The Puritans believed that the relationship between God and the individual should be an intense spiritual relationship. The Puritans’ goal was to “purify” the Church of England. Due to the differences in belief, the Puritans left the Old World escaping…show more content…
Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts where the Puritan religion was very dominant. His family had a long standing history in New England. It began with John Hathorne, a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. His family's legacy was one of strict Puritanism beliefs, which served as the basis for his novels. Once Hawthorne graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825, he returned to his mother's home in Salem. During this time, Hawthorne learned as much as he could about his ancestors. In 1849, his mother died. Also in this year, Hawthorne discovered a worn letter “A” in the attic. With this discovery, came the writing of his classic, The Scarlet
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