Scarlet Letter

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Scarlet Letter

The Puritan Beliefs As Told Through The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne was not a Puritan. But Hawthrone’s forefathers were Puritans, so he had an understanding of their belief system and their basis behind it. He stated that he hoped the sins of his forefathers had been forgiven. Hoping to expose those ideas which he understood, yet despised, Hawthorne purposely presented many important Puritan beliefs as import aspects to the Scarlet Letter. In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne addresses three main Puritan beliefs: providence, predestination, and the strict code of ethics that the settlers of New Englanders lived by.

The first main Puritanical belief Hawthorne referred to was the belief in divine providence. The Puritans believed that God granted providence, the right to enter heaven upon one’s death, to people who were moral and performed meaningful deeds while on earth. The main example of God granting providence is in chapter 8 when Hester visits the governor concerning Pearl. "… The young minister’s argument…[that] the child had saved [Hester] from Satan’s snare" (100). Surly if God did not want Hester to enter His kingdom upon her passing, He certainly would’ve allowed Pearl to be taken and Hester to enter the forest with Mistress Gibbons. A second example of providence in the Scarlet Letter is when Dimmesdale is dying on the scaffold. He claims that the "burning torture upon his breast" (226) and the "dark and terrible old man" (226) ...

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