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Time and time again, hawthorne reminds us that all humans are guilty of some sort of evil: This is not to say, however, that hawthorne has a purely bleak view of humankind.
It is our responses to our own evil and the evil we see in others that ultimately determine the moral state of our souls. The genre and setting that hawthorne selected for The Scarlet Let- ter profoundly shape its conceptions of good and evil. His choice to construct the book as a romance, as the subtitle of The Scarlet Letter declares it to be, allows his themes to exist as metaphysical truths in ad- dition to psychological ones.
Understanding how and why some go astray could promote sympathy and a sense of community and might even prevent others from making similar mistakes. It would appear, though, that Hawthorne deviates from his psychological understanding of evil in his characterization of Pearl, the child of Hester Prynne and arthur Dimmesdale, for throughout the text she seems very much an impish creature made so simply by her origins in adultery.
While today we think of a romance as a narrative in which romantic love dominates, for Hawthorne and his readers, the word had a very different meaning, deined largely in contrast to the novel.
The latter form of composition is presumed to aim at a very minute idelity, not Critical Insights Good and Evil. Perhaps one rea- son is that The Scarlet Letter emerged during a time of remarkable literary output for the nation as a whole.
In fact, american authors dur- ing the mid-nineteenth century appeared so proliic in retrospect that in literary critic F. These texts focus on american topics, perhaps responding to a general feeling at the time that the country needed to develop a cultural heritage dis- tinct from European subjects and traditions.
The historical setting of The Scarlet Letter affords Hawthorne a unique opportunity to examine his ideas about good and evil, redemp- tion and sin, by contrasting them with the past Puritan attitudes that differed so sharply from his. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne probes the psychological consequences of Puritan beliefs, many of which he considers debilitating and harmful.
For one, he repeatedly condemns Critical Insights Good and Evil. By the time Hawthorne was composing The Scarlet Letter, dominant religious beliefs had changed considerably such that sin was viewed as a chosen action or sentiment rather than an innate condition.
That hawthorne held a similar view is evident in his depiction of Chillingworth. It might seem, then, that Dimmesdale should also be an evil charac- ter, since for years he has chosen to present himself daily to the com- munity as a thoroughly virtuous man.
Dimmesdale believes that the community would be severely disrupted by the revelation that their minister is an abominable sinner, and thus he feels compelled to keep his secret. The narrator conirms his suspicion: Tempted by a dream of happiness, he had yielded himself, with deliberate choice, as he had never done before, to what he knew was deadly sin.
Pearl is from birth a tempestuous and somewhat wayward child, and the suggestion is that she is like this because she is the product of a sinful act. She thus would seem to refute the assertion that Hawthorne viewed evil as the result of choice and suggest that he believed that evil could be innate or inherited.
Estimated by historian a. Thus, the deformity of Ann e. Pearl is uninhibited by rules of propriety: She also expresses a bitter hatred of those who treat her as an outcast, a sentiment that her mother must have felt during her pregnancy.
The pine-trees, aged, black, and solemn. The narrator notes that even as a baby, pearl is captivated by the scarlet letter: As she grows up, she constantly draws attention to the letter: Pearl seems intent on keep- ing Hester forever aware of her shame.
Pearl performs a similar function for Dimmesdale.
She shows him an unusual affection that suggests she instinctively recognizes him as her father, but at the same time, her behavior subtly points out his hypocritical existence.
Even as an infant, Pearl is drawn to the voice of her unacknowledged father: Perhaps most unsettling is that Pearl seems cog- nizant of a connection between the two objects of her interest: The continued attention that Pearl gives the letter as she matures makes sense as well.
The narrator several times mentions the attire Hester has made for Pearl, and with each mention, his disapproval becomes more apparent.
This gesture is repeated a third time, again without any sort of maternal care: But the mother did not seem to hear it. As much as we may pity hester, many readers would ind it dificult to sympa- thize with her sentiments here.
In fact, the previous owner of one of my copies of the novel left a note in the margin alongside this passage: It was as if an evil spirit possessed the child and had just then peeped forth in mockery. What Hester observes in the polished breastplate is emblematic of the distorted way in which she views her own daughter.Many see Sophia's independence in Hawthorne's characters, including Hester Prynne, who is shunned by Puritanical villagers in "The Scarlet Letter" for having an affair and an illegitimate child.
The Scarlet Letter Vocabulary Project: This is a 2 page assessment asking students to use vocabulary from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and create a non-liguistic work, character sketch, creative writing piece, or use the vocabulary in context.
The Scarlet Letter Wilt thou let me be at peace, if I once tell thee? asked Hester. In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter, life is centered around a stiff Puritan society in which one can not indulge in their deepest thoughts.
The Scarlet Letter ends by giving Hester a choice of whether to wear her "badge of shame" (). She willingly chooses to wear it, in part because through her own agency the letter . by the comm unit y and this is what happens t o Hester Pry nne in The Scarlet Letter. On the other, On the other, they can choose to move on, without an open confession of the secret sin, and are.
If we are to properly analyze the role of women and the impact of women’s society in the Scarlet Letter, we must first understand the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. During the s when Hawthorne created the character of Hester Prynne, feminists were challenging societal attitudes toward women.