Karma in American Literature

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pages: 3 (1019 words) Published: November 24, 2013
Karma in American Literature
Karma Police by Radiohead talks about karma always reaching people for their actions, however this does not always apply to some characters in American Literature. In many american novels, characters do things that are morally wrong without getting any bad consequences. Also, sometimes, bad things happen to good and innocent characters. Some examples of consequences being unaffected by actions is seen in: My Antonia, by Willa Cather; The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. In these literary works, the main characters are not affected by their bad actions and innocent people suffer these consequences. In many romantic and transcendentalist novels, characters are treated unjustly even if they have good causes, or act morally good. For example In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne, the main character, acts good and she just wants the best for her child, however she is socially rejected and has a hard life. It is seen that even though she acts morally correct, she gets “beaten” by society. This novel takes place in the Puritan time period. In the puritan cultures, there are many offences which are punished by death, and adultery is one of them. Even though Hester Prynne committed adultery, she is now just trying to do the best for her child. In the following scene, Hester Prynne is at the scaffold waiting for her punishment while many people watch and insult her. The people of the town also suggest harsh punishments like branding her as a permanent reminder of what she did. “The magistrates are God-fearing gentlemen, but merciful over much-that is a truth,” added a third autumnal matron. “At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead. Madam Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she-the naughty baggage-litte will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown! Why,...


Cited: Cather, Willa. My Antonia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988. Print.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Signet, 1980. Print.
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