Puritan Society in Review

Topics: M. Night Shyamalan, Puritan, Bryce Dallas Howard Pages: 5 (799 words) Published: December 1, 2005
Literature about the puritan lifestyle makes it very clear that is most puritan

societies are very sheltered. Although these extremist beliefs do not seem present today,

back then they where enforced strictly. The where not allowed to wear any clothing

revealing a single ounce of skin. They lived in little communities where everyone knew

each other, therefore wedlock outside of their communities where very rare, if it existed at

all. And speaking of marriage, the simple thought of and premarital sexuality was

punishable by excommunication, or otherwise known as banishment. This theme of an

extreme sheltered puritan society in most prevalent in 3 of today's dramatic works. The

Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and The Village are some well known forms of literature and

entertainment that illustrate this theme.

The Scarlet Letter demonstrates a precise close minded society. At what time the

main character, Hester Prynne, commits adultery, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter.

The puritan society in which Hester lives is very extreme in demonstrating the theme of

an sheltered society. When Hester committed adultery, the people of Boston threatened to

take her daughter, Pearl, away. After an encouraging speech by the Reverend

Dimmesdale, who we later learn is Hester's secret lover, the governor finds that Pearl is

best suited with Hester. Even though they never did take her away, it does demonstrate

how extreme theses societies can be. Today, if someone where to commit adultery it

would certainly be frowned upon, but a child would never be taken away because of such

An action. The society getting so involved in Hester's affairs goes to show how The

Scarlet Letter is a extreme society.
The in The Scarlet Letter is carried over into Arthur Millers, The Crucible. This

common theme of sheltered and extreme societies in prevalent in The Crucible because

they are also a puritan community. A common underlying plot involving adultery is also

shared between the two. Hester Prynnes relation with the reverend Dimmesdale in The

Scarlet Letter is very similar to Abigail Young's relation with John Proctor in The

Crucible. Even though Abigail and John's relationship was never publicly exposed, the

jealousy of Abigail inspired her to accuse John Proctors wife, Elizabeth, of witchery.

Because it is an extreme Puritan society, John's wife was sentenced to be hung as soon as

she bore her child. Abigail's plan however backfires when john is accused of witchery

and is hung towards the end of the play. The execution of accused witches show how

extreme this society can be, considering we know there is no such thing as a witch. The

plot involving adultery, as well as the theme of an extreme puritan society are both shared

between the two literary works.

There is not a huge list of Puritan Literature, however we can find a relation in

The Hollywood movie, The Village, produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The

movie depicted a Puritan society in which the people live in a secluded Village. The are

not allowed into the woods for a false fear that monsters live there and a trip in to the

forest would result in demise. One certain resident will soon find out just why they are

sheltered and confined to that village. After her husband in stabbed and requires medical

assistance that the village can not provide, Ivy Walker to venture through the forest in search

of medical supplies. After wondering around for a while she encounters a wall, she

climbs the wall and into the modern world, a big twist on the plot for the viewers. She

gets the medical supplies she needs and treks back to the village. Even though there is

nothing in the plot about adultery, the theme of a sheltered puritan society is carried over

form The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible and is prevalent in the...

Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Reprinted in Elements of Literature, Fifth Course.
Ed. Robert E. Probst. Autin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2000
Village, The. M. Night Shyamalan. Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix. Touchstone Pictures, 2004.
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