A symbol relies on imagery to capture influential ideas. Symbols have the ability to captivate a population, negatively or positively, reflecting a community’s ideals and attitude towards the representation. When the scarlet letter is first laid upon Hester’s bosom, it has an extremely negative connotation within her community, which is intended to represent her sin. As the plot progresses, the circumstances and the community in which the novel takes place evolves and the societal attitudes change. With the community’s development, the meaning of the embroidered letter changes to reflect society’s different expectations and values. This evolution demonstrates how the power of the symbol is largely dependent on people’s perception of the token and what they believe its meaning is. The transformation of the Puritan community’s viewpoint during the story reveals the flaws and fragility of Puritanism. Given the religion’s foundation stemming from their disapproval of change in their church in Europe, this is particularly ironic. Hawthorne uses the tri-stage meaning of the scarlet letter as a means to demonstrate the evolutionary process and meaning a symbol can possess. While the Puritan society allows their view of the scarlet letter to change, Hester refuses to accept the change, demonstrating more Puritanical characteristics than her Puritan community.
Adulterer. Hester’s sole identity within the town is tied to scarlet letter sewn neatly into her gown, representing her sin against both g-d and society. Puritanism has the reputation of being harsh and rigid, with no differentiation between the common law and the g-dly law. The lack of distinction between the violations of the two drastically different laws provides very lit...
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... staying true to her ideals, she becomes more of a model Puritan, than her neighboring Puritans. Hawthorne brings light to this concept throughout the book, hinting at Hester’s purity. He uses a powerful metaphor to describe how he feels about the Puritan society. He says, “a pure hand needs no glove to cover it” (138)! This is indicating that he feels that the Puritan people are not actually pure at all; they simply cover themselves with a thin coating of purity on the outside. They don’t allow for individuality, which in itself creates impurity, by not allowing people to think for themselves and express their true personality. Hawthorne uses the power contained in a symbol to demonstrate the vulnerability of Puritan society. His criticism is centered on the lack of individuality and genuine purity that Puritans claim is the foundation of their society and religion.
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- “A” A symbol relies on imagery to capture influential ideas. Symbols have the ability to captivate a population, negatively or positively, reflecting a community’s ideals and attitude towards the representation. When the scarlet letter is first laid upon Hester’s bosom, it has an extremely negative connotation within her community, which is intended to represent her sin. As the plot progresses, the circumstances and the community in which the novel takes place evolves and the societal attitudes change.... [tags: Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter, Puritan]
1511 words (4.3 pages)
- Chapter 1- This chapter sets the scene for the following chapter and partially introduces us to our protagonist. Hawthorne immediately implements symbols that will likely play a role throughout the rest of the book. He also offers many possible meanings for the rosebush outside the prison, but ultimately decides to leave it up to the reader. Hawthorne also introduces puritan ideals, and the creation of a prison almost immediately plays into the puritan ideal of all people being born with sin. Chapter 2- This chapter formally introduces our protagonist, Hester Prynne, and she is seen walking out of the prison in the first scene.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, John Winthrop]
2375 words (6.8 pages)
- Men are nothing more than children. They still squabble and misbehave, and must be punished accordingly for their safety as well as the safety of others. Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and John Proctor from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible were guilty of adultery, or extramarital sex, among other crimes. Proctor was accused of witchcraft which could involve anywhere from controlling spirits to communing with the devil. Punishments for such crimes included flogging or whipping.... [tags: dimmesdale, nathaniel hawthorne]
1483 words (4.2 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
930 words (2.7 pages)
- As time progresses, there are noticeable changes in the way that religion intervenes with the ideals and thoughts of any given general society. Numerous past problematic situations have now dwindled down to particularly that, no longer issues of the present. Regardless, the questionable issue of Adultery remains, standing true as consistently being the, “it,” scandal, being means for both religious and societal predicaments. Present to this day, the reputational damage done to an individual is massive, regarding Adultery, and people are left to decide what they can do about it, often left with very minimal choice but to accept or deny what they have done.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1311 words (3.7 pages)
- Death is a major theme through both Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In the first text, mass hysteria rips through Salem after a group of girls danced in the woods and blame everything and anything on witchcraft. The girl who could be identified as the main trouble-maker is Abigail Williams. She kicked up all of the witch suspicions because she had an affair with John Proctor, the identifiable hero. The story climaxed with the death of characters that drew affection from the readers.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
1185 words (3.4 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Belief in the Puritan Religion. Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the most popular and influential writers of his time. Known for many of his short stories such as “The Maypole of Merry Mount”, “The Gentle Boy”, and “Endicott and the Red Cross”. Most famously Hawthorne is known for his book “The Scarlet Letter” written and published in 1850. One typical link in all of his works was the common protagonists were Puritans. Although at first glance Puritans in Hawthorne 's works seem to play the bad guy character they often are more rational with their beliefs.... [tags: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
2103 words (6 pages)
- The Importance of the Meteor in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The Scarlet Letter, is considered by many to be a masterpiece. It was a culmination of everything Hawthorne experienced in his life. He grew up in a household that held fast to Puritan ideals. This affected him in ways he himself may not have even realized. “Nathaniel Hawthorne placed many undercurrents of meaning in this novel”(Tucker 16). At the climax of the story, a meteor flashes through the night sky.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
982 words (2.8 pages)
- Chillingworth is the Greatest Sinner in The Scarlet Letter The world of Puritan New England, like the world of today, was filled with many evil influences. Many people were able to withstand temptation, but some fell victim to the dark side. Such offences against God, in thought, word, deed, desire or neglect, are what we define as sin (Gerber 14). In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the reader is able to observe how one sin devastates three lives. Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth are all guilty of succumbing to temptation, anger, and desire, causing all to fit the definition of a sinner.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
935 words (2.7 pages)
- In the scarlet letter the core of the story line revolves around a movement known as the Puritan. The Puritan movement began when King Henry declared England's independence from the Church of Rome and he appointed himself head of the new Church of England. King Henry did this because he wanted to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. By appointing himself head of the Church of England he was able to grant himself his own divorce that the pope would not give him. At first there was little difference between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic but later with the spread of Protestant reformers such as John Calvin the church began to change.... [tags: Hawthorne Scarlet Letter]
1898 words (5.4 pages)