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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