Essay Title: 

The presence of symbolism The Scarlet Letter and how it convey`s Hawthorne`s opinions of puritan society

March 29, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘s The Scarlet Letter is a novel that is filled with symbolism . The symbols in the story stand for Hawthorne ‘s view of the hearts of men and , most importantly , the hypocrisy of which he suspected many who claimed to follow the Puritan religion . As a writer , Hawthorne lived within a Puritanical society and questioned what he considered to be inconsistencies between words and practice . One researcher O ‘Toole recalls that Melville describes Hawthorne ‘s soul as `shrouded in a blackness ‘ and having a Touch of Puranitanic gloom . [which] derives [banner_entry_middle]

its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity from Original Sin , from whose visitations , in some shape or other , no deeply thinking mind is always wholly free (1996 . His biographer Carl Van Doren (1885-1950 ) also talks about Hawthorne ‘s relationship to his Puritanical heritage . Van Doren writes

Much as he had inherited from his Puritan ancestors of the knowledge of the secret heart , which in New England , from once seeking incessantly within itself for signs of a light from God , had formed habits of dwelling too constantly there and much as he employed the secrets he had found in his own buried researches , Hawthorne was little of a Puritan . His sympathies in the historical tales are steadily with the radical movements away from the domination of the straiter sects , and in his contemporary pieces he regularly demolishes the austerities which had come down from the Fathers ( par . 6

Throughout his works , therefore , is a heavy measure of criticism when it comes to the actions of puritanical persons who pretend to be able to judge other people without considering the wickedness that might be inherent in theirs . And throughout his works (such as , The Minister ‘s Black Veil ‘ and My Kinsman , Major Molineux ‘ and The Scarlet Letter are symbolic representations of these ideas that he found troublesome and fascinating

The Scarlet Letter finds Hester Prynne the outcast of a puritanical society , as she has been charged as one who has committed adultery Although it is not generally known who her accomplice is in this act the use of symbols is the means through which the reader is exposed to the identity of the other party . Hawthorne also uses symbols in his portraits of the other characters in the story (such as Roger Chillingworth , Hester ‘s husband ) and Pearl , the daughter of the forbidden union . These symbols range from man-made , outward representations of sin to other more symbolic figures of the inward workings of the human heart , and they are used not only to harshly criticize the rigidity of the Puritan society but to bring out sympathy for those who have committed the scarlet ‘ crime

The most obvious symbol in the novel is the scarlet A that is printed on Hester ‘s clothing . Her punishment for committing this (apparently unpardonable sin is to wear forever on her clothing the symbol of her violation . The A represents Adulterer , and the punishment that eternally binds her to that… [banner_entry_footer]


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