Puritan Culture In Scarlet Letter

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For generations, authors have written stories in order to exploit the actions of a certain group or person. The Scarlet letter is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is no exception to this. This novel takes place in 1850 and follows main character, Hester Prynn, as she endures life in The Massachusetts Bay Colony with her daughter. The novel focuses the struggle of a mother who had a child out of wedlock and the reaction of the Puritan society in which she resides. This plot was selected by Hawthorne in order to express his own social commentary on the Puritan Culture at the time. Nathaniel Hawthorne critiques the harsh rules and punishments of the Puritan colony through the symbolic nature of the characters, his grim diction, and
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First, the town reverend, Arthur Dimmesdale, is employed by Hawthorne to display the pressures that the strict rules of the colony have on its citizens. As a Religious Figure in his society, Dimmesdale is expect to follow the stern laws of Puritan Culture. However, he breaks these rules when he commits the sin impregnating Hester, causing the battle between his heart and religion to slowly tear apart his sole. This is significant to Hawthorne’s critique of Puritan Religion because Dimmesdale unable to express his true feeling due to his fear of public backlash. Hawthorne goes on to depict dimmesdale and the rest of the Puritans as, “stern and black-browed” (52), as they cannot truly express their inner beauty due to the standards of society. On the other hand, Hawthorne actually describes Hester as having a, “ charm of softness to her features”(304), contrasting the images 0f the rest of the characters in the novel. Hawthorne uses Hester’s beauty as a symbol of a free sole that is not confined to the constraints of Puritan society. Once Hester decides to leave behind the scarlet letter and the religion that had defined her for so many years, Hawthorne reveals that, “She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom” (308), demonstrating his perspective that Puritan society restricted a person 's god given
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