If a man is so dedicated to his writings, then it is surly proven when he writes a forty-eight introduction just to begin his novel. Set in the seventeenth century, Hawthorne effectively illustrates Puritanism in the introductory pages of The Scarlet Letter, thus making the preface of the novel significant to the remainder of the story. The introductory of the novel is set forth to prepare the reader for the events and people that will come into play later in the story. It seems though that the main purposes of his preface tend to center around inviting the reader to understand his past, to concentrate on his service at the Custom House, and to introduce the scarlet letter that represented adultery in the Puritan period. Hawthorne's preface is just a mere opening into his life and times, which makes the preface significant to the novel.
Nathaniel Hawthorne invites the reader into his past and introduces several ancestors of his.
He makes reference to his Puritan ancestors as he discusses their roles. "...as a man of war and peace... He was a soldier, legislator, judge; he was a ruler in the Church; he has all the Puritanic traits, both good and evil. He was likewise a bitter persecutor, as witness the Quakers, who have remembered him in their histories... His son, too, inherited the persecuting spirit, and made himself so conspicuous in the martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may fairly be said to have left a stain upon him." (P.10, introductory). This reference that Hawthorne makes is relevant to the novel because it allows foreshadowing into how the scarlet letter of adultery can relate back to his Puritan ancestors. With this reference to his ancestors and his shame on their doing, "At all events, I, the present writer,