Insight into Puritan Society Illustrated in Hawthorne's Novel, The Scarlet Letter

Insight into Puritan Society Illustrated in Hawthorne's Novel, The Scarlet Letter

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Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlett Letter is an American Classic and has proved to be a great contribution to American Literature. Hawthorne has allowed his readers insight into a Puritan past that held strict principles and unyielding consequences that he was all too familiar with and haunted by these horror stories of his heritage led by his own ancestors. In composing this tale Hawthorne presents a realistic image of the 16th Century and threads the importance of his knowledge of the Transcendentalist movement which brought focus to the nature of life and the right of individuals to pursue their natural desire a great contrast to the Puritanic existence he was so custom to. Although the author Nathaniel Hawthorne had doubts about the seriousness of his work, his novel The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, gained huge recognition and notoriety because of its insight into a changing American culture and the issues that would shift its' direction. Hawthorne was born in 1804 on July fourth in Salem Massachusetts. Hawthorne’s heritage went back six generations in Salem where he was raised and reared for manhood. His own ancestors had been there to judge in the Salem Witch Trial of the seventeenth century. This undoubtedly was one of the many things that shaped and influenced this American author’s style in this and many of his other works.
The Scarlet Letter is a literary work that can be analyzed in a feminist perspective. The author released the character Hester Prynne from prison, “Those who had before known her, and expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was en...


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...gworth is bitter that his wife has not only had an affair but also is with child because of this adultery. His bitterness is compounded by his anger toward the man unwilling to bear witness to his iniquities as well. This fuels Chillingworth into a serpentine character. His presentation to the townspeople as a well learned practitioner of medicine and of good intentions out of nowhere was explained by the authors, “In answer to this query, a rumor gained ground-and however absurd, was entertained by some very sensible people – that Heaven had wrought an absolute miracle, by transporting an eminent Doctor of Physic from a German university bodily through the air and setting him down at the door of Mr. Dimmesdale’s study!” (Hawthorne 1996, pg.102) This further enlists Chillingworhth to aid the Reverend Dimmesdale in overcoming whatever ailment that he suffered.

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