The Puritan Guilt in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Society Essay

The Puritan Guilt in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Society Essay

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The time was the nineteenth century, a time of great prudishness in America but born a man Nathaniel Hawthorne that would put the Puritan society and their way to the test. A Puritan is one who follows the English Protestant lifestyle and someone who adheres to strict religious principle; also one who has a strong regard for pleasure sex and nudity. (Webster’s Dictionary, 2003) Born on July 4th 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts and of Puritan decent himself, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family experienced intense harassment during their time.(Hoeljte, pps 25-26) Experiences that today make Hawthorne not only a great author, but very well liked by readers as well. Nathaniel attended a prestigious school with the aid of wealthy family members.(Hoeljte, pp 174) Hawthorne himself after not becoming a lawyer or doctor as his family wished had many financial issues, he was forced to work and write stories to support a family of his own.
Hawthornes’ knack for writing would begin shortly after college where he wrote many unpublished and published short stories, novels, and articles. Hawthornes’ major novel was intended to be a lengthy short story but due to his financial issues was forced to make this lengthy story into a now famous novel. (Hoeljte, pps 280-285) Hawthorne became one of the leading writers of his time, moving away from formalism and exploring the ideas of individual responsibility, the importance of creative expression and man’s relationship to the natural world.
In addition to financial worries, another influence on the story is Hawthorne's rejection of his ancestors. His forefathers were strict Puritans, and John Hathorne, his great-great-grandfather, was a judge presiding during the Salem witch trials.( Hoeljte, pps 36-37...


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...ying the authenticity of the American dream of freedom and independence through his characters and plot. Hawthorne also does a great job with his usage of sin, isolation and reunion in the novel.



Works Cited

1. Eisinger, Chester. Pearl and the Puritan Heritage. 1951 pps. 323-329
2. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Ticknor Reed& Fields. 1850
3. Hoeltje, H. Hubert. Inward Sky. Durham, North Caroline: Duke University Press, 1962.
4. James, Henry. Nathaniel Hawthorne. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879) 102-18.
5. Johnson, Durst Claudia. Understanding The Scarlet Letter. Green Wood Press, 1995
6. Kesterson, B. David. Critical Essays on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. G.K Hall. 1938
7. Scharnhorst, Gary. The Critical Response to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. Greenwood Press.
8. Webster’s Dictionary. Trident Press International, 2003 Edition

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