In a community, people understand and know each other. In most cases, individuals grow up together and share the same ideals and customs. When a new person shows up, people tend to flock and try to form a persona of the person. Many people expect him or her to fit into the community quickly, and follow their laws and customs without complaint. Unfortunately, not everyone can act as a perfect person, and mistakes or problems can occur, which leads to the isolation and the alienation of the person from the rest of the community or the other way around. Through the use of a historical lens in the 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores how the isolation of people and alienation of the Puritan communities who treat others as outsiders, occurs from their strict belief structure; therefore, people need to show adaptability and forgiveness for the actions of others if they show remorse.
Throughout history, the Puritan communities govern their members on the basis of their religion and man-made laws. In many cases, like the Boston colony, the church and governing body share very similar beliefs which leads to a strong connection between law and religion. According to Robert Higgs, people in Puritan communities do not feel guilt in “using government coercion” on others they believe do not follow their teachings to “knock some sense into the offender” (469). Puritan beliefs center around the laws which come from the Bible. To keep the members of the community in line, many of the higher officials and reverends begin to create harsh punishments and regulations to stop and caution people. In the New England colonies, one can see the close relationship between the church...
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...munities act like what Waller describes, major events such as the Salem Witch Trials causes other colonies and people to alienate those communities as well because of their association with the bigger, more known Puritan colonies. This shows how their strict laws can alienate other communities as well.
The isolation of others because of their personal ideologies fails to help the Puritan communities. Instead, it leads to the alienation of the community itself from others who may want to help them. Hawthorne uses the characteristics of the Puritan communities to show how isolation leads to nothing but doubt, and the alienation of the person or people who isolate others. Instead, people need to accept others and learn to live with the changes around them. The new ideas and beliefs do not need to affect the community itself, but still becomes a vital part of progress.
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