2. The Scarlet Letter was set in in Boston, Massachusetts, however Nathaniel wrote this in Salem, Massachusetts. The story was set in the 1640s but Hawthorne wrote it in the late 1840s. Hawthorne wrote during the Romantic Movement in American literature which lasted from roughly from 1830 to 1865. The Scarlet Letter is considered a piece of American Romantic literature because it is set in a remote past, the Puritan era 200 years prior to Hawthorne’s time, and because it deals with the interior psychology of individual characters. The majority of Hawthorne’s work takes America’s Puritan past as its subject, but The Scarlet Letter uses the material to greatest effect. The Puritans were a group of religious reformers gjjfvwho arrived in Massachusetts in the 1630s. The religious sect was known for its intolerance of rebellious ideas and lifestyles. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the repr essive, authori tarian Puritan society as an analogue for humankind in general. The Puritan setting also enables him to portray the human soul under extreme pressures. Hawthorne speaks specifically to American issues, but he avoids the artistic and thematic limitations that might accompany such a focus. His universality and his dramatic flair have ensured his place in the literary standard.
3. The constant theme throughout The Scarlet Letter is Puritanism. The Scarlet Letter presents a critical, even mocking, view of Puritanism. The narrator depicts Puritan society as a dull, confining, unforgiving, and narrow-minded that unfairly victimizes Hester. In the scene in which Hester is released from prison, the narrator describes the town police official as representing the "whole dismal severity of the Puritanical code of law," which merged dignity…force of character…[and] free will." It is precisely these natural strengths, which the narrator holds in high respect that Puritan society destroys. In The Scarlet Letter, the Puritans appear as shallow hypocrites whose opinion of Hester and Pearl improves only when they become more of an asset to the community. Puritanism is a major theme in The Scarlet Letter and adds context to the story. I feel that the message that Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to get across to the reader is, do not be a hypocrite. Do not put on a false front to the world to make it seem like you have no faults. Hawthorne writes “Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred. This idea is demonstrated in the life of Dimmesdale and Hester. Dimmesdale tried to hide his sin and guilt from the world. As a result, he was eaten alive by remorse and guilt, his heart literally weakened, and he died. Hester, on the other hand, never hid her sin and learned to rise above it by becoming humble and doing good deeds.
4. Hester Prynne is the book’s protagonist and the wearer of the scarlet