Puritianism and Literary Techniques in "The Scarlet Letter" Essay

Puritianism and Literary Techniques in "The Scarlet Letter" Essay

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"Nathaniel Hawthorne has made a beautiful, admirable, extraordinary approach in this novel" said Henry James regarding The Scarlet Letter. It has the beauty and harmony of all original and complete conceptions and its weaker spots are not of its essence, but mere light flaws and inequalities of surface. The novel has the inexhaustible charm and mystery of great works of art. It has a high style of polish as well as a charming freshness. Hawthorne has cultivated with great industry his natural sense of language, his turn for saying things lightly in touchy mood, picturesquely yet simply, and for infusing a gently colloquial tone into matter of the most unfamiliar import. The Scarlet Letter deals with different aspects, which are portrayed in the novel directly or indirectly. It is a psychological romance with the tragic incidents of crime and punishment. Hawthorne also made symbolic approaches using ambiguous language and irony. The puritan society of this novel is a matter of consideration also. This novel is capable of being interpreted in various ways.

Published in 1850, The Scarlet Letter was well received and became very popular. The first edition of 2500 copies was sold out within three days, and was followed by the second and a third edition during the following six months. Since then the book has never been out of print. It has always been a favorite book both with readers and critics. Man of the early readers and critics find the book too gloomy and somber but they were pleased that here finally was a work by an American author that could stand with the best thing produced in England. The neatness of its organized structure has attracted the attention of a large number of readers and critics. The book has been found us...

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...s writing and in his works at the custom house he has attempted to be a good citizens of his society, now, he is writing a book what gives voice to a deep rejection and defiance of social regulations. The exposition of the novel, though dramatic, has a classical obviousness; there is no trace of obscurity in any of the characters and relationships. It has the art of saying things well and it is very positively tested. Hawthorne treats of those matters among which it is very easy for a blundering writer to go wrong-the subtleties and mysteries of life, the moral and spiritual maze.


Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Penguin Classics: Ohio State University Press, 1962

James, Henry. Hawthorne. (English Men of Letters Series) London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1879

Doren, C. V. The American Novel. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952.

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