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Essay: The Scarlet letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne/Puritan Society and Inner Ferocity

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 18 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 910 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: The Scarlet Letter

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The Scarlet letter is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthrone has written many good and important novels and short stories throughout his lifetime. In The Scarlet Letter we see the woman with her child be exhibited by the people because she has a child with another man.
In The scarlet letter bears the woman Hester a piece of clothing with a red A on. The A symbolizes that she is an adulterer. Her husband has been trying to get to New England seeking revenge after Hester has been with her new boyfriend Arthur Dimmesdale. Arthur Dimmesdale neglected with guilt and remains unidentified in the story. By creating all the drama is the story symbols evil, love letter and punishment.
In that Hester should be ashamed that she has got the little girl with the boyfriend. For that, running around with the letter A should punish her, so everyone in town could see that she was an adulterer. Evil exists in the people looked at her as they did. They made her laugh. But eventually, that love back and preparing the woman and the child, there will be no more shame. It is a classic story with a conflict based on emotions.
The language is archaic, there are several non-English words and names that are difficult to decipher if you do not have the vocabulary or read the kind. But the language goes with the story; it is an old story about puritanism’s time. The excerpt gives a good picture of how big role religion played in the Puritan community. If you look at the United States today, it’s scary that religion still has great influence. Many in the US today even, with regards to the puritanical values. Therefore, it is even more exciting to familiarize them with how the Puritan society was then. The Puritans were a group of Englishmen who were not satisfied with the Anglican Church in England. They therefore formed their own church in 1581. The congregation of this church were persecuted because they had a different religion than the English, which was to defy the English king. For the Puritans were all representing something wild and sexually anything bad. In The Scarlet Letter is Hester and Pearl symbol of this savagery. The inhabitants put all the blame on their shoulders, so they do not have to have to face their inner ferocity.
Hester Prynne was married to Mr. Prynne. After arriving in Boston and been without her husband for some time, she is unfaithful to her husband, and have a child. This is a sin in the Puritan society, and she will be punished for that. It is as if there always follows a dark shadow with Hester, she wears grey clothes and hat, for her not to stand too much forward in the crowd, but the red letter lights up strongly.
Pearl is the symbol of Hester’s sin, or as we would call it Hester inner ferocity. This is also seen in the way Pearl behaves in, she is very wild and unruly. Still, she is seen as a child of nature. She has been “produced” in sin outside of marriage, and she behaves wildly. She represents everything they believe is evil.
Arthur Dimmesdale is a priest in Boston. The red “A” on Hester’s breast can stand for Arthur Dimmesdale, the man she was Pearl with. The man she loves and the father of Pearl. As a priest in Boston, he is the symbol of everything good in the Puritan community. Yet he made this mistake, and now he tries to hide it. As Hester he tries also to hide what he is passionate about.
Chillingworth is Hester’s husband. He came to Boston, where he took the name Chillingworth, as he did not want anyone to know who he was. When he comes to Boston is the first thing he sees his wife Hester to be convicted of adultery.
In extracts are we in America in the 17th century. The narrator of the story is thus an external 3rd person narrator who goes into the characters and describes what they feel and think.
The message of the text is that we should not judge and the wrong person often sees evil. The evil in this story is Hester Prynne and her daughter seen as evil because it is against the rules to be her husband cheating. The message of the text is that we should not judge and the wrong person often sees evil. The evil in this story is Hester Prynne and her daughter seen as evil because it is against the rules to be her husband cheating. But in reality it is her husband who is the evil in this story because he’s mean facing Hester and is so determined to find her lover. He manipulate and threaten Hester with that if she publisher his real identity, will Hester and her lover pastor Dimmesdale be hanged for adultery.
It is a story of human passion, passion and repression. About human nature in general. Through the extract has been given a good impression of what it was like to live in a puritanical society in the 1600s. Through the symbols in the story, we learn much about the community, and Hawthorne’s view on it. Hawthorne has set for itself as the third person says, and he comes matter with a view on the Puritan society.

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