Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, refuses to name the father, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.
Why does she repeatedly refuse to stop wearing the letter?
What is the difference between the identity she creates for herself and the identity society assigns to her? For Hester, to remove the scarlet letter would be to acknowledge the power it has in determining who she is. The letter would prove to have successfully restricted her if she were to become a different person in its absence.
Hester chooses to continue to wear the letter because she is determined to transform its meaning through her actions and her own self-perception—she wants to be the one who controls its meaning.
The letter symbolizes her own past deed and her own past decisions, and she is the one who will determine the meaning of those events. She has made herself into a symbol of feminine repression and charitable ideals, and she stands as a self-appointed reminder of the evils society can commit.
Could the book also be seen as embodying some of the aspects it attributes to the nation in which it was written? In the Puritan society portrayed in the novel, however, this is not the case. In fact, it is Europe, not America, that the book presents as a place of potential.
There, anonymity can protect an individual and allow him or her to assume a new identity. This unexpected inversion leads the characters and the reader to question the principles of freedom and opportunity usually identified with America.
His fellow customs officers owe their jobs to patronage and family connections, not to merit, and he has acquired his own position through political allies.
Thus, the customhouse is portrayed as an institution that embodies many of the principles that America supposedly opposes. Insecure in its social order, the new society is trying to distance itself from its Anglican origins yet, at the same time, reassure itself of its legitimacy and dignity.
But it is this project of defining America that Hawthorne himself partially undertakes in his novel. Do both have religious implications? Do symbols foreshadow events or simply comment on them after the fact? The Puritans in this book are constantly seeking out natural symbols, which they claim are messages from God.
Yet these characters are not willing to accept any revelation at face value. They interpret the symbols only in ways that confirm their own preformulated ideas or opinions.
The meteor that streaks the sky as Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold in Chapter 12 is a good example of this phenomenon. Rather, he writes that the garden, which was originally planted to look like an ornamental garden in the English style, is now full of weeds, thorns, and vegetables.
The absence of any flowers other than the thorny roses also hints that ideals are often accompanied by evil and pain. Confronted by the ambiguous symbol of the garden, we begin to look for other inconsistencies and for other examples of decay and disrepair in Puritan society.Nathaniel Hawthorne was the great grandson of Judge John Hathorne, the infamous cruel, biased, and possibly self serving judge of the Salem Witch Trials.
The themes of witch trials, lost inheritances, family curses, and greed figure in this book. The Scarlet Letter, published in , is an American novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and is generally considered to be his magnum opus.
Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, refuses to name the father, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity/5(K).
Demi Moore as Hester Prynne in the film version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was the great grandson of Judge John Hathorne, the infamous cruel, biased, and possibly self serving judge of the Salem Witch Trials. The themes of witch trials, lost inheritances, family curses, and greed figure in this book. The Scarlet Letter is Hawthorne's response to the oppressive reality to Puritan society. After discovering his ancestors actually took place in the witch hunts, Hawthorne wrote this expressive novel about a woman who simply wanted to live. The Scarlet Letter Chapter Discussion Notes PowerPoint: Need discussion and lecture notes for your novel? Included is a 30 page PowerPoint covering all facets of Nathaniel Hawthorne's great American novel, The Scarlet Letter.
Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Buena Vista Nathaniel Hawthorne, describing "a tale of human frailty. Oct 07, · Review: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne October 7, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a book whose iconic position within the literary cannon makes is a must read for many.
It wasn’t until this day, March 16, in , that the publication of The Scarlet Letter launched Hawthorne into the literary limelight — at the advanced age (by 19th-century standards) of The book, which became an instant bestseller, has been called one of the great American novels as well as America’s first psychological novel.
The Scarlet Letter opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be written. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts.