The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter
After the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, people flocked to America in search of a new life. One of these groups was the Puritans, who fled England as a result of persecution by the crown. The Puritans were known for their extreme devotion to religion, and their goal to have their community to be as a “city upon a hill”. This idea of a city upon a hill shows how they want everyone to look up to them, but this also meant that all of their actions would be elevated and magnified. This reflects the strict rules and harsh punishments that are engraved into the very depths of their society. Crimes such as adultery could be punishable by death. Two hundred years after the initial settlement of the Puritans, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about Hester Prynne, a Puritan woman living in one of the first settlements in America who has a coming to America story similar to other Puritans of her time, until she is found guilty of adultery. The Scarlet Letter may seem like a simple story about a Puritan women living in America during the early stages of the New World, in reality this is not true. Hawthorne’s use of symbolism through the appearance, and setting of the characters to show the state of the mind and feelings of the individuals in The Scarlet Letter makes the story far more complex and meaningful than an author simply writing a story about a Puritan woman. This interpretation of The Scarlet Letter can be compared to The Obliquity of Signs: The Scarlet Letter written by Millicent Bell.
Setting greatly contributes to the meaning of The Scarlet Letter. One of the key locations to the book is the scaffold. The first paragraph of chapter two expresses, “ The mildest and the severest acts of publi...

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... is impossible to assume that only one interpretation is correct when everyone understands things differently.
It is obvious that there are an infinite amount of little details and signs that are integrated into The Scarlet Letter, and it is impossible to correctly find and rationalize all of them because everyone is able to see different interpretations of the same story. This is what makes The Scarlet Letter considered such a great work. The Scarlet Letter is incredibly complex due to Hawthorne’s use of the presence, and location of the characters. Other authors such as Millicent Bell write papers such as The Obliquity of Signs as an attempt to justify all the events in Hawthorne’s novel in an attempt to better understand the work, but in reality these interpretations help people understand their own interpretation of events rather than what was intended.
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