Puritanism in Scarlett Letter Essay

Submitted By schoolisstupid
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VI: Hawthorne utilizes the extremist Puritan lifestyle in comparison to his time period (1840-1850s) to convey the need gender equality.

A. Extinct Puritanism
1. “His fiction, which has survived the changing tastes of many generations and is more admired today than it was when it was written, is fueled by an awareness of guilt that accompanies a Puritan conscience. This shadow of guilt appears to have darkened Hawthorne’s life. The source of darkness is thought to lie in Hawthorne’s illustrious ancestors.” a) The word “ancestors” infers that these Puritan relatives are long gone, along with their strict and oppressive beliefs.
2. “Hawthorne tried to find distance from this face of Puritanism and lived Puritan ideology and philosophy in his own way. […] For the Puritan elements Hawthorne has put into his short stories, there are several to find. Certainly nobody would use his stories to learn something about Puritan lifestyle, but there is always a description in every story” a) Hawthorne uses the Puritan lifestyle as an aspect of setting in many of his works for personal reasons, but why does he use it so frequently? b) Does the Puritan lifestyle serve as a symbol? i. Puritanism symbolizes the restraint humans have against their instinct; the voice in our heads telling us to conform.

B. Hester vs. Suffragettes
1. “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled to perceive how her beauty shone out and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped.” a) Hester is not depicted as the average feeble, dependent damsel in a time of disaster. In contrast, shows she is capable of accepting her own responsibility and that of Dimmesdale.
2. “Hester Prynne is comparable to a modern feminist because of her admirable actions and brave choices (suffragist). Hester reveals she is a resilient woman when she is prosecuted by the male authority and laws set down by the male population of her society” a) Hester’s actions and