The Scarlet Letter, Young Goodman Brown and Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter, Young Goodman Brown and Hawthorne Writing under the influence of his Puritan background, Hawthorne's attention was on individuals and their relationships within their community. Theocratic Puritans punished sinners as deviants of society and used the punishments to restate the boundaries within the group. The five tenets of Puritanism reveal the curious nature of a religion that promoted goodness as a constant goal of each individual, but provided only negative reward of no punishment for good behavior and actions. The tenet of Unconditional Election made predestination clear. No matter how hard one tried to be good, only those elected were going to heaven. In The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne introduces the community by way of the prison house and the women of the community "being of mature age and church members in good repute." In the conversation that the women have about Hester their jealous hearts and vengeful attitudes are revealed. In this way he shows us that this community, although it was designed to be the perfect Christian community, interprets itself as something else. We can assume that Hawthorne shows us the bitchy ways of the women of the church, the ones who supposedly care for the sick and tend to the elderly, nurturing and comforting in a Christian-like manner, and the prison house to inform us that Puritan society has problems, the same problems that any society might have. We can begin to read Hawthorne from the romantic perspective and see society as the guilty party. Indeed, the author sets us up to see Hester as a heroine, a rose, even though a wild rose. And Young Goodman Brown takes his place as hero in his tale. Although we know that he embarks on an "evil purpose," we also know his intentions are to return to his good Faith. But how can a Puritan return to his good faith when he is a sinner? There is no way to achieve goodness, because Adam sinned, so sinned we all. And if you accept that, even if you reject communion with it, who can be trusted? Not even your self. Young Goodman Brown's happiness could only come from a life with Faith/faith and all he could believe in was the reality of his faith, which was that all were sinners. That means that communion has to be communion with sin.
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