The Seclusive Lifestyle in Two Literary Works: The Scarlett Leter and The Road

The Seclusive Lifestyle in Two Literary Works: The Scarlett Leter and The Road

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Throughout time philosophers have strived to cultivate one’s soul. Although philosophers all share the goal of obtaining a well-balanced soul, they don’t necessarily agree on the technicalities of how to fulfill this concept. Be it the teachings of Plato, Frederick Nietzsche, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, or the plethora of other philosophers available, one thing is always constant. Philosophers seek transcendence in seclusion. This seclusive lifestyle is liberating to one’s soul. The concept of seeking transcendence through seclusion is visible in many novels today. Two of the more predominant novels being, The Road by author Cormac McCarthy and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In The Road McCarthy establishes a post-apocalyptic world in which the majority of population are cannibals. It is established that the public (majority) is hazardous to the two protagonist of the novel. The father and son are forced to kill or be killed. By thrusting the father and son into a world with their actions are predicated by the actions of the public, McCarthy is attempting to illustrate the significant influence one’s environment has on an individual. When the father and son are together in seclusion McCarthy showcases maturity in each of the characters. The conversations they have become more philosophical.
Take the father for example. When exposed to a public setting his thoughts are solely focused on the survival of his son and himself. However, when permitted to dwell in seclusion, or rather when the public is no longer a part of the immediate situation, the father’s thoughts transcends to a more thought-provoking level. In the beginning of the novel, before we are introduced to any antagonist, the father and son are alone e...


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... father is able to liberate his soul and be at peace.
In both The Scarlet Letter and The Road the characters face many internal and external conflicts that prevents the transcendence of their souls. It’s not until they are secluded from these distractions that they are able to achieve a higher level of peace than that of those who coexist amongst them. Also, in both novels the characters with the most conflict become the most content because they are ostracize and allowed to reflected and confront their sins and secrets. It proves to be imperative, whether in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne or in The Road by Cormac McCarthy that seclusion fosters self-cultivation and allows the character’s soul to transcend.



Works Cited

1. McCarthy, Cormac, The Road. New York: Random House, Inc., 2006
2. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter. Spark Publishing, 2009

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