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This paper describes the influence of Puritanism and Hawthorne's ..
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, deals with crime, punishment, and
guilt in Puritan society. The main characters include Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and
Reverend Dimmesdale. All of the characters undergo a certain degree of crime, guilt, and
punishment. Each of the characters either share the same amount of guilt, or are less guilty then
the other. Most of the sins the characters commit could have not taken place if it was not for the
one sin that led it all on. Hester's sin plays a major role in leading on the sins of others in The
The society in which Hester Prynne lives in frowns upon her. She considers herself to be
a sinful and wrong person stating, "She knew that her deed had been evil, she could have no
faith. ?(Hawthorne 82). Prynne commits the crime of adultery which she should be hung for, but
instead has to wear the letter "A ? on her chest for the rest of her life. Now that her sin physically
remains with her, she constantly is reminded of what she did. Also, Pearl reminds Hester of what
she did everyday, "She looked fearfully into the child's expanding nature, ever dreading to detect
some dark and wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her
being. ?(82). This forces Hester Prynne to feel guilt for her actions. Hester has got to be one of
the most guilty of all the characters because if she did not commit the sin she did, then the other
character's guilt would have probably not taken place. Especially the guilt she brings forth upon
Townspeople also look down upon Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, another main
character in the story. Dimmesdale also commits the sin of adultery. Unlike Hester, his crime
does not reach the public's knowledge until the very end of the story. Dimmesdale states, "If
Leland S. Person, "Bibliographical Essay: Hawthorne and History," A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Larry J. Reynolds (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001), 194; Carol Marie Bensick, La Nouvelle Beatrice: Renaissance and Romance in "Rappaccini's Daughter" (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers UP, 1985).
Lingering Puritan ideals in Hawthorne and Melville - Essay ..
Edgar Allan Poe, "Tale Writing—Nathaniel Hawthorne," Godey's Lady's Book 35 (November 1847): 252-56; extract rpt. in James McIntosh, ed., Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales, 332-35; Henry James, Hawthorne, Literary Criticism: Essays on Literature, American Writers, English Writers, ed. Leon Edel and Mark Wilson (New York: Library of America, 1984), 315-457, esp. 366.
First, the 1950's readings of "Young Goodman Brown" asbeing about the hypocrisy of Puritanism. These interpretationsemphasize the hypocrisy that Hawthorne's historical tales about theperiod of the most notorious witch trials in American colonialhistory reveal, and it is no surprise that this view of the storieswould strike a responsive chord during the period of the mostnotorious witch trials in United States history. In other words, itmakes sense that the religious hypocrisy of the Puritans would standout to literary critics living in the McCarthy era. The Puritanmission was originally an idealistic one; it was supposed toestablish something that at first glance, at least, looks all good: a perfectly harmonious religious community. What the Salem witchtrials show is that even the best of intentions can lead to thegreatest of evils. By the same token, the 1950's hunters ofcommunists in government and in the American culture industry mayhave thought they had the best intentions, but they certainly causeda great deal of harm. In both cases, a power that claims to act forgood shows that it sometimes can't help acting for the worst, alesson we are still tempted to forget.
Essays on puritans and puritanism leon howard - Research pap
One school of historicist Hawthorne interpretation has emphasizedwhat Hawthorne's historical fiction says about the time period in thepast in which the tales and romances are set. A classic example ofthis sort of interpretation is Michael Colacurcio's article, firstpublished in 1974 in the Essex Institute Historical Collections(I have to make a plug for the host institution!), entitled "VisibleSanctity and Specter Evidence: The Moral World of Hawthorne's 'YoungGoodman Brown.'" Colacurcio's point about "Young Goodman Brown" isessentially that the story presents Hawthorne's interpretation of thedynamics of Puritanism, especially as practiced in Salem Village, andhow those dynamics led inevitably to the horrendous and misguidedapplication of religious zeal in the Salem witch trials. Todemonstrate his point, Colacurcio explains how certain details aboutBrown make it clear that he is a third generation Puritan—thestory makes it clear that both his father and his grandfather wereSalem Puritans. As a result, Brown finds himself in the specialposition of being from so religiously devoted a family thateveryone—including Brown himself—would have assumed thathe was going to become one of the elect.
was a 19th-century New England writer best known for writing . Many of his works reflect his somewhat Puritan background and are highly moralistic. Hawthorne often holds certain moral values up as exemplary and, at the same time, points out that man is failing miserably in attaining them. In fact, he's often cited as a key player in the "Dark Romanticism" genre, in which man's failures and flaws are examined and criticized. See "" for more on this topic.
"The Birthmark," published in March of 1843 in a literary journal called The Pioneer, is one of Hawthorne's more famous short stories. It tells the story of a scientist who is obsessed with the removal of his wife's birthmark, believing it a sign of her human imperfection. The story raises some interesting questions about what it means to be human, the body vs. the soul, how much science can tell us about the world, how much of nature we can change through science, and perhaps more importantly, whether we should even try to "play God" in this way.
It's probable that "The Birthmark" was significantly influenced by Hawthorne's times. In the mid-1800s, science's star was rising and, most interestingly, seeping into the field of philosophy. A school of thought called Positivism sprang up, which pretty much glorified the scientific method and said the only way we could learn things was through scientific experimentation and careful observation. Out with lofty meta-physics; in with physical observation. Hawthorne's main character Aylmer, in one reading of "The Birthmark," epitomizes this point of view. Whether or not Hawthorne totally rejects Positivism is subject to debate, but he is certainly questioning the validity of such a limited approach to gaining knowledge about our world.
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Rhinoceros Beetle Susan Hawthorne Free Essays
But while a decade ago critics were discovering that Hawthorne'sPuritan fiction was all about American national ambivalence aboutslavery and the lack of national consensus required for the newnation to forge an identity, now—if I may hazard a predictionbased on a few examples of work in progress on Hawthorne's fictionthat I have read lately—now we shall begin to see thatHawthorne's fiction is about history itself: about how at the sametime we cannot avoid the consequences of our history and cannot,because we are distanced from it, fully know our history, which inturn accounts for the apparent obsession in Hawthorne's writing withhistory.
Why We Still Read Hawthorne 150 Years Later
You can read Tompkins's response in her influential book, SentimentalDesigns: predictably, for Tompkins, who Hawthorne was has alwaysbeen in dispute. In other words, not only have Hawthorne's tales andromances meant different things to different readers and interpretersin different generations but Hawthorne himself has been a differentperson to different generations of biographers. Tompkins, in awonderful passage, cites two examples of biographical descriptions ofHawthorne, each taken from the introduction to the section onHawthorne in an anthology of American literature. The first examplecomes from a 1932 anthology, called Century Readings in AmericanLiterature, whose editor, Fred Lewis Pattee, describes Hawthorneas follows: "'shy and solitary,' 'writing, dreaming, wanderingabout the city at night,' a writer whose Puritanism was a 'pale nightflower' that bloomed amidst the 'old decay and ruin' of a town whosemoldering docks conveyed a sense of 'glory departed.'" The second example comes from the introduction to the Hawthornesection by Hershel Parker, one of the editors of the 1979 edition ofThe Norton Anthology of American Literature. Parker,according to Tompkins, "gives us the 'healthy' Hawthorne ofRandall Stewart's revisionist biography, the Hawthorne who loved'tramping,' drinking, smoking, and cardplaying, who socialized,flirted, and traveled 'as far as Detroit.'"
The Scarlet Letter Essays | GradeSaver
?Young Goodman Brown? is a story about a Puritan?s dream of predetermination written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ms. Buehler stated in class that most Puritans dreamed about predetermination and whether they were chosen for Heaven or Hell. Puritan belief in predetermination is, ?God decided who would be saved or damned before the beginning of history? (Wu). Some question if Goodman dreamed of, or truly met, Satan. ?Young Goodman Brown? was nothing more then a dream.
At the time in which this story was set, Puritans lived with the stress of predetermination. Witch trials were still fresh in Puritan minds, and religious hypocrisy added to their stressful existence. Puritans prayed, calling their actions hypocrisy in their Divine Support Prayer. (Bennett) Mental stress could have been cause for Goodman to dream, and believe it to be reality. Imagination can cause us to believe something is real, even if it is not.
People have been known to think a dream was real. Proof of such was presented by Ms. Buehler, who relayed a phone call from her mother. Ms. Buehler?s mother called after having a dream. Although her mother realized it was a dream, she stated it felt so real she needed to yell at her. Goodman had a similar experience during his dream, ?He could have well-nigh sworn that the shape of his own dead father beckoned him to advance?? (Charters 316). Such a vision is possible in dreams and hallucinations.
A pink ribbon plays a vital role in Goodman?s dream. Goodman?s wife, Faith, wears a cap adorned with pink ribbons, which represent his faith. During the journey in the woods, Goodman hears Faith?s voice coming from a cloud overhead. He calls out to her in desperation. Although she doesn?t respond, a pink ribbon flutters down, landing on a branch. At that moment he exclaims, ?My Faith is gone!? (Charters 314). This symbolizes the loss of his religious faith. Upon his return to town, in the mornin
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