Nathaniel Hawthorne's Literature During Early America

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's literature exhibits the influence of many factors. Much of his literature addresses Puritan culture in early America, commonly focusing on the shortcomings and hypocrisies that became apparent during the numerous witch hunts. Many of his works are allegorical, using the Puritan setting to portray his own ideas about ancestry, history, and religion. While The Scarlet Letter and House of the Seven Gables are among Hawthorne's most known works, he produced a large sum of work, including many famous short stories. The most important of these, "Young Goodman Brown," is noted for its vivid depiction of witch craft and Puritan culture. However, it is of greater significance because the story clearly exhibits the marks of Hawthorne's influences. The greatest influence on all of Hawthorne's literature is the cultural and religious impact of Puritanism, a religious movement with a long history. During the 16th century, the Anglican Church was formed separate from Catholicism. Many English citizens at the time felt that this was a significantly drastic change. However, the religion still behaved similarly to Catholicism, much to the chagrin of the English protestants. The Church "retained much of the liturgy and ritual of Roman Catholicism and seemed, to many dissenters, to be insufficiently reformed" ("Puritanism" par. 1). After the formation of the Church of England, those Protestants who did not convert were prosecuted by the rest of the public, and the government. One such group was the Puritans, an extremely Protestant group who emphasized strong and literal adherent to the bible and its teachings. Because of their obsession with exact adherence and interpretation, many were derogatorily referred t... ... middle of paper ... ...ct. Indiana University South Bend Undergraduate Research Journal. (2002): n. pag. Web. 25 November 2013. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. 5th ed. Ed. John Schlib and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. 1131-1141. Print. "Nathaniel Hawthorne." Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 25 November 2013. "Nathaniel Hawthorne- Biography." The European Graduate School. The European Graduate School EGS, 1997-2012. Web. 25 November 2013. "Puritanism." History. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 1996-2013. Web. 25 November 2013. "Salem Witch Trials." History. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 1996-2013. Web. 25 November 2013. Schlib, John and John Clifford. Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. Print.
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