Nathaniel Hawthorne was understandably ashamed of his ancestor and critical of Puritanism and its rigidity, dogmatism, and predilection for persecution of non-Puritans. Since her parents were not
His knowledge of their beliefs and his admiration for their strengths were balanced by his concerns for their rigid and oppressive rules. The Scarlet Letter shows his attitude toward these Puritans of Boston in his portrayal of characters, his plot, and the themes of his story.
The early Puritans who first came to America in founded a precarious colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. While half the colonists died that first year, the other half were saved by the coming spring and the timely intervention of the Indians.
These first settlers were followed ten years later by a wave of Puritans that continued in the s and thereafter, until, by the s, New England had over twenty-five thousand English settlers.
The second group in the s settled in the area of present-day Boston in a community they named Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is this colony that forms the setting of The Scarlet Letter.
Their chief complaints were that the services should be simpler and that religion should contain an intense spiritual relationship between the individual and God.
In England, the clergy and the government mediated in the relationship between the individual and God. Because the Puritans chose to defy these assumptions, they were persecuted in England.
A group of them fled to Holland and subsequently to the New World, where they hoped to build a society, described by John Winthrop, as "a city upon a hill" — a place where the "eyes of all people are upon us.
Hawthorne, of course, presents the irony of this concept when he describes the prison as a building already worn when the colony is only fifteen years old. Hawthorne says that, "All were characterized by the sternness and severity which old portraits so invariably put on; as if they were the ghosts, rather than the pictures, of departed worthies, and were gazing with harsh and intolerant criticism at the pursuits and enjoyments of living men.
In the recounting of the New England holiday set aside to honor a change in government, Hawthorne describes the non-Puritan parade-goers in the most joyful of terms. Their dress, their behavior, and even the happiness on their faces is very un-Puritan-like.
He writes, with his pointed understatement, that "the Puritans compressed whatever mirth and public joy they deemed allowable to human infirmity; thereby so far dispelling the customary cloud, that, for the space of a single holiday, they appeared scarcely more grave than most other communities at a period of general affliction.
Consider the description he gives of them in his Custom House preface. He sees them, like the old General he describes, as people of perseverance, integrity, inner strength, and moral courage. He also shares a concern for their disdain toward his need to take on a commercial job that contributes little to the community in spiritual profit.
Man and Salvation These early Puritans followed the writings of a French Protestant reformer named John Calvinwhose teachings saw the world as a grim conflict between God and Satan.
The Elect were people chosen by God for salvation. According to Puritans, a merciful God had sent His son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for the sins of man, but only a few would be saved. The rest, known as the "unregenerate," would be damned eternally.
Because Adam and Eve were willful and disobedient to God, they brought upon mankind the curse of depravity, sometimes called Original Sin.
Church and State Those who were male and members of the church could vote. In addition, ministers guided the elected officials of the colony; consequently, there was a close tie between Church and State. In The Scarlet Letter, those two branches of the government are represented by Mr.
The rules governing the Puritans came from the Bible, a source of spiritual and ethical standards. These rules were definite, and the penalties or punishments were public and severe. The stocks were a form of public indictment — and, therefore, deterrent — of bad behavior.
Those who disagreed with the laws of the colony were banished, persecuted, and, in some cases, executed. Obviously, these rigid Puritan standards had both good and bad outcomes. The colony would not have survived without the faith, hard work, courage, and perseverance of these early religious believers.
They feared Indian attacks and had to survive lethal diseases, starvation, and the harsh New England winters. They also formed a society in which the rules were very clear.
There were few gray areas in the standards of behavior expected by the Puritans and taught early to their children. These stern and introspective Puritans provided a rigid structure that was repressive to the individual but that enabled the colony to survive those early years when order and faith were needed.
On the other hand, the society built by the Puritans was stern and repressive, with little room for individualism.Throughout his richly varied literary career, Nathaniel Hawthorne () wrote compelling short stories of enduring appeal.
His first important publication, long before The Scarlet Letter, was the collection Twice-Told Tales, which brought the New England writer immediate fame and high.
"Young Goodman Brown" is a short story published in by American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story takes place in 17th century Puritan New England, a common setting for Hawthorne's works, and addresses the Calvinist/Puritan belief that all of humanity exists in a state of depravity, but that God has destined some to unconditional election through unmerited grace.
THE SCARLET LETTER. It was published in in Salem, Massachusetts by Nathaniel Hawthorne The scarlet letter is a psychological romance.
Hawthorne proposes to study the effects of . The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, an novel, is a work of historical fiction written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
It is considered his "masterwork". Set in 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, during the years to , it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and heartoftexashop.comher: Ticknor, Reed & Fields.
The Scarlet Letter 2 Essay words - 7 pages If one is to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, they will forever remember the remarkable tale of a woman who succeeds against all odds.
It extraordinarily describes the life and times of early Puritan colonists in . The Scarlet Letter () became the pinnacle of Hawthorne’s reputation. Despite the book’s relatively low production and overall profit, it became known as a literary classic. The book was appreciated by America for its native setting in which the story took place in the heart of New England.