Hawthone's Thought in the Scarlet Letter

Essay by LorettaxUniversity, Bachelor's April 2010

download word file, 10 pages 0.0

Essay Writing in English

Undergraduates Grade 2008


Academic Thesis


By Lorettax


January 17,2010

Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the most outstanding romantic novelists in American in the 19th century, whose works mostly describe and life tragedy under Calvinistic pressure by the cruel clericalism domination in the colonial period. Hawthorne was born in a declining aristocratic family in Salem, Massachusetts, New England. Salem, his hometown, has ever been the place where Puritanism forces are rampant and several generations of his ancestor are fanatic Puritans; therefore, the rich Puritanism thought infiltrated from his family has deep-rooted effect on Hawthorne. Hawthorne's thought was full of contradictions. In his days, American capitalism was developing rapidly, and the social structure was changeable. He couldn't understand this change, and tried to explain it by discovering the" hidden evil" in everyone's heart because of the influence of Puritanism. Later he was influenced by transcentalism.

Also he believed there is an intangible spirit world behind the objective world, and explored the possible intersection between reality and illusion. He used symbolism and imagination, which made his works full of mystical color.

The novel Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne probes into the problems of religious ethics and morality by the background of New England Religion. In The Scarlet Letter, there are four main characters: Hester. Prynne, Pearl, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. Hester was a strong willed girl. When still young, she didn't know what love is and married Chillingworth. Later her husband disappeared inexplicably when Hester moved to New England in her loneliness; she fell in love with Dimmesdale, the young and handsome clergyman. Because she conceived a baby, her secret love was exposed and was put into prison and was forced to wear a scarlet letter"A"on her clothes all her life which means"Adultery".