Set in the 17th century, Nathaniel Hawthorne presents the society as strict with Christian-like rules and principles to abide by. Those who disagreed with the laws of the colony were banished, persecuted, and, in some cases, executed. Hester is tied to her community, but so too is it bound to her.
To stop play and fix a center requires power, even violence, as the [End Page 34] famous opening scene of The Scarlet Letter clearly shows when the Puritan magistrates demand that Hester name Pearl's father. Hawthorne's Puritans speak through the "godly magistrates" with an unquestioning dependence on moral authority; they are a people for "whom religion and law [are] almost identical" 54, These "iron men and their rules" provide a backdrop for Hawthorne's story that keeps the conflict alive because public appearances and penance were dramatically important parts of the Puritan community.
This conflict is seen even in the early chapters. In conclusion, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Walt Whitman both used symbolic landscapes and images of nature in their writing. Her first action is to make the letter distinctly her own, and her second, when she is released from prison, to "besto[w] all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable than herself.
The husband, Roger Chillingworth, passes by and is commissioned to be the physician to the two, and remedy them of their sicknesses.
This unexpected inversion leads the characters and the reader to question the principles of freedom and opportunity usually identified with America. Conversely, in Dimmesdale's reaffirmation of the center, and his implicit defense of the status quo, we can find echoes of Hawthorne's conservatism: While at first the magistrates seem to have the power to fix the meaning of the A within narrow boundaries, those boundaries expand as the narrative unfolds.
Hester never allowed those bonds to form on Pearl, and what initially appears to be an escape from the repressive community of Puritans is merely a trip to transplant the "little elf" 92 into a more hospitable environment.
Ossa Certified Educator The views of the villagers toward Hester Prynne change dramatically from the beginning toward the end of the novel. She refuses to tell him. This is where the model of civil disobedience in The Scarlet Letter most differs from Thoreau's, for Hawthorne posits less potential for individual agency and a greater personal toll for being "a counter friction to stop the machine.
Wilson, representing the religious realm of rule, discusses the "vileness and blackness" of Hester's sin and reports that only the intervention of the minister, Dimmesdale, has persuaded him that the minister is a better judge of arguments that will cause Hester to reveal the name of the child's father.
The narrator tells us that not the "sternest magistrate of that iron period" would re-impose the symbol on Hester when she returns, but her resumption of the A shows that it no longer belongs to the magistrates.
Hawthorne says that, "All were characterized by the sternness and severity which old portraits so invariably put on; as if they were the ghosts, rather than the pictures, of departed worthies, and were gazing with harsh and intolerant criticism at the pursuits and enjoyments of living men.
It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life!
Arthur attempts to reenact the original scaffold scene and expunge his moral cowardice by taking the letter on himself; however, his confession casts serious doubt on the magistrates' [End Page 48] access to an inviolable font of moral authority, which allowed them to fix the signifier with only one meaning.
Calvinists were a very introspective lot who constantly searched their souls for evidence that they were God's Elect.The character of Hester Prynne changed significantly throughout the novel “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways, committing adultery/5(1).
Symbols Found in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter Essay Words | 4 Pages. Several symbols that are found within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, represent a greater idea found outside of the story itself.
The A on Hester Prynne's breast both demands and defies interpretation. That "scarlet letter, so fantastically embroidered had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself." 1 Exactly what her extraordinary "relations.
The Scarlet Letter shows his attitude toward these Puritans of Boston in his portrayal of characters, his plot, and the themes of his story. The early Puritans who first came to America in founded a precarious colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Hawthorne uses the symbol of the scarlet letter in his three main characters to criticize the puritan world and to question whether their beliefs and punishments are justified. The novel begins with Esther emerging from prison holding Pearl, her illegitimate baby whom she had borne out of an act of adultery.
The Scarlet Letter: Hester Prynne The character of Hester Prynne changed significantly throughout the novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester Prynne, through the eyes of the Puritans, is an extreme sinner; she has gone against the Puritan ways, committing adultery.Download