The Scarlet Letter

Topics: Puritan, New England, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 4 (1403 words) Published: May 29, 2013
“The Scarlet Letter”|

Nathanial Hawthorne
Joe MacDonald
American Literature

Joe MacDonald
American Literature
Set in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letter is by Nathaniel Hawthorne could be seen as potentially his most renowned work of literature. It is a love story about a preacher named Arthur and a girl, Hester, whose husband is deemed deceased. The main concept of the story is how Hester must wear a scarlet ‘A’ on her chest for eternity to symbolize adultery, which is an accurate occurrence in history such as in the Plymouth Colony of 1671. While having underlying historical accuracies, it is definitely a work of historic fiction. Perhaps the author derailed from a realistic depiction of the “pure” way of life? Or maybe this novel could stand on its own as a highly regarded representation of the period it did try to portray? The Scarlet Letter portrays multiple religious and political inaccuracies of the Puritan system. Arriving in New England during the mid 17th century, John Winthrop along with fellow Puritans holed up in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to avoid the rapidly corrupting Church of England. The Puritans aimed to erect a new society based entirely on the laws of their religious beliefs. Over a short time, they conceived a stern order of rules arranged according to the law of the Holy Bible. This was all to convince England that this colony was the perfect society in which all should see as an archetype, known as a “society on a hill” (“Literature and Its Times” 351). Those who were “afflicted” by possessing Bible negating beliefs were subject to what could be cruel and sometimes public punishment, because it was seen that God would punish everyone for the wrongdoings of a single human, and therefore the community has to illustrate to said deity that they did not accept such sins. (“Literature” 355, “Puritans...
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