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"Change in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 27 Jun 2019
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- In the mid-17th century, the Puritan faith very much revolved around punishment and public humiliation. The scaffold was a popular means of punishment. It was a place where sinners were ordered to stand, for hours at a time, in front of the entire town. It was a place where executions occurred, as well as many other forms of public humiliation and cruelty. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the scaffold serves to illustrate the dynamic change of Arthur Dimmesdale as he progresses from a coward to a Christ-figure.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- In the novel the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the main character Hester Prynne sinned by committing adultery which changes her identity while she wears the Scarlet Letter. “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity” (Erik Erikson). The way the scarlet letter defines Hester as someone who sinned in her society. The way that her society reacted to her with the scarlet letter, made her question her identity of who she is with the scarlet letter.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the “A” that Hester wears has significant meanings to all four major characters. In the novel, the “A” that Hester Prynne wears upon her breast represents adultery. The “A” is very important to the story because it represents Hester 's sin. The novel revolves around the “A” so without the “A” there would be no story. Just as the “A” affects Hester it affects Dimmesdale, Pearl, Chillingworth, and the people of the town as well. To Hester, the main character and the wearer of the scarlet letter, the “A” symbolizes a lot more than the other characters in the novel.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- A multitude of literary works possess much more information than an initial review reveals which is no accident on the author’s part. One author who epitomizes this method of writing is Nathaniel Hawthorne and his book The Scarlet Letter. Following a thorough review of the book, the underpinnings of literary elements reveal the way in which he incorporates his dynamic tone throughout the story, and, with extensive research, conclusions can be made as to why he wrote the novel. Exploring the latter topic allows analysts of all kind gain further insight on his character and its relation to the books content.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
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- Mistakes happen every day in the world we live in. People make mistakes due to poor decisions and bad judgement. Some who commit these faults are punish publicly, while some may get away without anyone knowing. Yet, the one who gets away can experience the same amount of pain as the one who is publicly punish. So how come does this happen to the one who gets away. Well, this happens because of one’s private guilt, which he or she cannot escape from. The longer one holds onto the guilt, the more painful it can be to the person.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- Written in a time when the role of females in society was nothing more than homemaking and childbearing, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter explores the reaction of society to a woman whose revolutionary attitude and demeanor caused debate both within and beyond the lines of the text. Through the powerful influence and contrast of the main character, Hester Prynne, Hawthorne’s novel shows the effect of such a powerful woman on society. The Contrast of Hester Versus Dimmesdale Authors have a reason for everything that they do, and in the case of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne’s stark contrast between the characters Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale is no accident.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, struggle to go about life. The characters Hester and Dimmesdale both are ostracized in the story and run into complications with the puritan society and how its morals affect them. The literary elements symbolism, imagery, and setting emphasize the motivations and reactions with the conflict of individual vs. society. The “A” or scarlet letter is the ultimate symbol of the entire novel. Initially, the letter symbolized shame then shifted later in time.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
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Puritanism has its roots in the 16th and 17th century as a movement for reform in the Church of England. It had an insightful sway on the social, political, and ethical ideas in England and, subsequently, in America. The Puritan people had many beliefs that were depicted to the fullest in early American Literature. Puritans first believed in the concept of original sin in which all humans were born sinful. Puritans also adhered to the theory of unconditional election or predestination, which was the belief that God saves those he wishes and that few are selected for salvation. Another important aspect to Puritan beliefs was that everything was done as a united community. They stressed the importance of the group rather than the individual. This belief applied to everything from their possessions to their well beings. Puritans felt as long as they had God¡¦s love than that was all they ever needed. Most importantly, however, was the goal of the early Puritans, such as Thomas Cartwright, was to purify the church not to separate from it. Early American Literature writers such as William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet used all of these beliefs to portray Puritans in their works.
The primary function of Puritan writing such as that of William Bradford was to transform God from being such a mysterious being. The Puritans felt God was separate from their world and they didn¡¦t really know Him. Bradford also wrote to make God more relevant to the universe and to glorify him to the readers. In Bradford¡¦s Puritan writing, he consistently portrayed two common themes. These themes were political and religious idealism and pragmatism. In Bradford¡¦s Of Plymouth Plantation, the Puritan people are illustrated with all of their beliefs. The Puritans were generous people who followed the laws of God but not in a strict and punishing way. While Bradford and his followers were trying to settle into their land, they were on many occasions confronted by adversity from others as well as by troubling conditions brought on by their environment. However, Bradford¡¦s followers as written were shown to stand together as a community. They used their Puritan belief that as long as they stood united that God would take care of them according to his divine plan. While enduring these troubling times, Bradford¡¦s Puritans remained peaceful and holy not causing any uproars or dilemmas.
Like William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet also portrayed the basic ¡§everyday¡¨ examples of Puritans in her poems. In her poem Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House, Bradstreet describes how she dealt with her house burning down according to Puritan standards. In the poem it states, ¡§And to my God my heart did cry to strengthen me in my distress and not to leave me succorless. Then, coming out, beheld a space the flame consume my dwelling place. And when I could no longer look, I blest his name that gave and took, that laid my goods now in the dust.¡¨ In this example, Bradstreet portrays the Puritan belief that individual possessions mean very little and that her belief in predestination and God¡¦s original plan for salvation will ease her pain in this troubling time. In the poem it also states, ¡§Yet by his gift is made thine own; there¡¦s wealth enough, I need no more, farewell, my pelf, farewell my store. The world no longer let me love, my hope and treasure lies above.¡¨ Again, Bradstreet is sticking to the original portrayal of Puritans in that they are calm, gentle people and work toward bettering themselves in the eyes of God.
However, Nathaniel Hawthorne takes a very different approach to portraying Puritans in his novel The Scarlet Letter. In his novel, he moves away from the traditional ¡§nice guy¡¨ type of disposition that most Puritans were previously shown as possessing in earlier writings. Hawthorne shies away from the Puritan Theory that they want to purify the church and not separate from it. He exhibits this by showing the town of Salem¡¦s actions toward Hester when she is found to have committed adultery. Instead of trying to purify Hester, they treat her very severely with strict punishments, the most of harsh of which was wearing the scarlet letter ¡§A¡¨ on her breast. They also ostracize her from the rest of community by making her an outcast and making her feel unwanted. Also, they treat Hester as if she has committed the most heinous of sins and that there is no way she can rightly justify her actions. Originally, Puritans held strong to the belief that everyone was born into sin. Therefore, when a sin was committed, though it wasn¡¦t condoned as the right thing to do, it was almost expected from people. The difference between former Puritan portrayals and how Hawthorne depicts them is that Hester was treated as if she was not born with the stigma of original sin. Therefore, when she did commit her sin of adultery, the community reacted as if her action was completely spontaneous and unexpected in nature. It was if every other person in Salem was completely pure and had never committed a transgression against God¡¦s rules. Finally, Hawthorne takes away the portrayal that the Puritan people were a benevolent, gentle, and peaceful community. The beginning of Hawthorne¡¦s novel has Hester on a platform being ridiculed by the whole town of Salem. The townspeople, her fellow Puritans, are yelling at and disparaging Hester because of her sins. They¡¦re very cruel with their words, stares and actions. The basic beliefs that helped shaped how Puritans were portrayed in American Literature were completely altered by Hawthorne into what had now become a ¡§new¡¨ style of Puritans.
Nathaniel Hawthorne¡¦s drastic change in the way he portrayed the Puritan people in his novel The Scarlet Letter can easily show what role Hawthorne and his novel play in American Literature. If one does enough research, they can observe that one of Hawthorne¡¦s main objectives in his writing was to change old ideas and develop a new style, one that Hawthorne could call his own. If it is not obvious enough in his writing, then one must simply take a look at Hawthorne¡¦s life in general. Hawthorne was originally born Nathaniel Hathorne. As an adult he took it upon himself to change his last name by adding the ¡§w¡¨, thus making his name seem more romantic. This is clear evidence that as a writer Hawthorne was looking for his own style. To do so, he would have to change American Literature from what was seen as the ¡§norm¡¨ into his own elaborate and creative, but yet awkward, style. The way Hawthorne changed the portrayal of the Puritan people is just one example of how he attempted to shake up the current status quo of American Literature. With this idea of change, I would place Hawthorne¡¦s writing into a time period of American Renaissance. When one thinks of a renaissance, the first thing that will come to mind is ¡§rebirth¡¨, the literal meaning of renaissance. In the ancient renaissance period, there were drastic changes being made to every aspect of life. Literature, architecture, music, science and theology were all beginning to take on new forms. Although Hawthorne¡¦s writing was not part of this original renaissance, the basic idea of change associated with the renaissance is seen within his writing. In addition, it should be noted that The Scarlet Letter setting is the renaissance period. I believe Hawthorne wanted to change the way American Literature would be written and read throughout the years. The change or ¡§rebirth¡¨ that Hawthorne applied to his writing, especially with the portrayal of the Puritan people, clearly proves that one could call his writing a renaissance or reshaping of literature.
In conclusion, whether Hawthorne¡¦s change in literature was viewed as positive or negative it definitely had an immediate impact on American Literature. The ways Hawthorne took Bradford and Bradstreet¡¦s general portrayal of Puritans and completely reversed them 180a I believe was significant in the placing of his work into the period of time. I believe that Hawthorne created his own ¡§renaissance¡¨ in American Literature with all of his ideas of change and that the period of time where his literature is best suited is the renaissance period.