Romanticism in "The Scarlet Letter"

Essay by mxpx8990High School, 11th gradeB+, April 2007

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A Scarlet RomanceIt is the year 1644, Boston Massachusetts, and the stage is set for one of the most famous romance novels of our time. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne set a genre standard for American Romanticism, with an intrinsic love of nature, sense of freedom of imagination and emotion, and the low regard Hawthorne holds for organized religion and all that it entails. In his novel, Hawthorne builds on the standards of romanticism, as the trend away from Puritanism and religious Oligarchy.

One of the essential, driving elements to Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, is the deeply rooted romantic value associated with Nature, with all of its innocence and Purity. Thought the novel, it becomes evident what poor and corrupt people the puritans of New England are, but countering the degradation of the Puritan Oligarchy, is the glorifying of Nature and all things associated with it.

An essential element of classical romance, is nature, natures purity, and finding truth in nature.

Specifically we can see Hawthorne making the connection to nature through Pearl, who's name even has a natural meaning, being a thing of great beauty. Furthermore, Pearl seems to be naturally innocent and has a seemingly supernatural connection to nature, as we see her growing up as "an elf-child" in her childhood cottage in a meadow. This simple fact, that her haven, is outside town and in a forest, as well as Hawthorne's grim view of the town, shows his value placed on nature as a romantic element. Still yet, Hawthorne uses nature as his stage, highlighting Pearl, the innocent and pure, in oerpetual sunlight. Thus Hawthorne uses the classical romance element of nature to build the innocence and purity of virtue that a romance novel is always based on .

The sense of innocence and purity established...