Transcendentalism In The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, among many others, believed that The Scarlet Letter was a Dark Romantic Novel. Two hundred years, however, after the Romantic movements, one can classify The Scarlet Letter as Transcendental. The Transcendental characteristics seen in the novel are also seen in historic figures like Lewis and Clark. The Scarlet Letter is a Transcendental piece as opposed to a Dark Romantic piece. This is important because these qualities were necessary to live in America’s new frontier. Hester Prynne shows the Transcendental trait of self-reliance much like other Transcendentalist stories. When describing Hester’s living conditions, Hawthorne writes, “on the outskirts of town within the verge of the peninsula but in close vicinity to any other habitation there was a small thatched cottage, it had been built by an earlier settler and abandoned because the soil was too sterile for cultivation while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of social activity”(Hawthorne 71). Because she lives by herself, Hester is self-reliant. She must be independent as she lives away from the community. Emerson's piece “Self-Reliance” advocates for self-reliance when it states “society everywhere is in conspiracy …show more content…
The Scarlet Letter is Transcendental. The book’s traits are very similar to many other pieces that are known as Transcendental. By using this knowledge, one can conclude that this book is Transcendental. Americans who were pioneers at the time, like Lewis and Clark, needed to refer back to this Transcendental way of thinking in order to survive on the frontier. Much like Hester, the idea of a corrupt society encouraged people to move away from their old towns, become self-reliant, and find peace within