"The Scarlet Letter"
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This paper discusses Nethaniel Hawthorne's novel, "The Scarlet Letter" which offers a poignant critique of religious conservatism in America. The paper discusses the plot of the story and the characters involved. It specifically focuses on the themes of religion, love and conflict that are expressed in the novel and their universal application. It shows how Hawthorne portrays these themes in his novel.
From the Paper:"The Scarlet Letter would have been received differently by different groups of people and individuals in 1850 America. Few people of color were able to read at the time and so the book would have been read mainly by whites who could afford a decent education. The book also spoke far more to a New England audience than to a southern one because of its being set in Boston. Still, the issues Hawthorn addresses are universal among all Americans. Most of the American population in 1850 were self-described Christians. Social norms were conservative, almost as conservative as they were in the seventeenth century, when the novel was set. Puritanical settlements had long since morphed into more mercenary outposts in New England, but Hawthorne must have noticed widespread conservatism in the first and second Great Awakenings: eras of Christian evangelism in America. Evangelism usually constituted a reaction toward perceived breakdowns in morality. Those breakdowns might have meant only the transformation of social norms into those more realistic and egalitarian but conservatives by definition cling to their traditions vehemently. Hawthorne's book speaks to those who can identify with the protagonist and/or with Dimmesdale. Hester's husband Roger Chillingworth is depicted as an almost one-dimensional character consumed by the desire for revenge. Chillingworth's name is as icy as his heart; the author therefore suggests that true love and marriage have nothing to do with one another."
Cite this Book Review:
"The Scarlet Letter" (2009, March 15) Retrieved September 17, 2014, from http://www.academon.com/book-review/the-scarlet-letter-112987/
""The Scarlet Letter"" 15 March 2009. Web. 17 September. 2014. <http://www.academon.com/book-review/the-scarlet-letter-112987/>