Nathaniel Hawthorne Was Born in Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Given that slavery and sexism were still pervasive realities in American society in the middle of the nineteenth century, the Scarlet Letter borders on being a radical work.

Hawthorne also reveals how religion had pervaded Massachusetts Bay society to the extent that public laws reflected Christianity. The idea that Church and State should be separate did not emerge until much later in American consciousness, and by the time Hawthorne wrote the Scarlet Letter in 1850 the nation had been fully formed and founded on principles far different than those upon which the Massachusetts Bay Colony was: namely, religious plurality was protected in the Constitution. In spite of that, women had few rights in public society. Women were prohibited from voting or holding public office. Adultery and sexual freedom remained taboo, as was homosexuality and mixed-race relations.

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
Parts of this Document are Hidden
Click Here to View Entire Document
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.

Individuals who believe that adulterers should be shunned like Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale were might react to Hawthorne's work differently than most readers. Religious conservatives might take offense that the author injected a healthy dose of moral relativism into the book. Although the Scarlet Letter must have irked many a Christian in its time and possibly our own, the novel stands out as being eerily relevant two centuries after…

Sources Used in Documents:

Hawthorne also reveals how religion had pervaded Massachusetts Bay society to the extent that public laws reflected Christianity. The idea that Church and State should be separate did not emerge until much later in American consciousness, and by the time Hawthorne wrote the Scarlet Letter in 1850 the nation had been fully formed and founded on principles far different than those upon which the Massachusetts Bay Colony was: namely, religious plurality was protected in the Constitution. In spite of that, women had few rights in public society. Women were prohibited from voting or holding public office. Adultery and sexual freedom remained taboo, as was homosexuality and mixed-race relations.

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.

Individuals who believe that adulterers should be shunned like Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale were might react to Hawthorne's work differently than most readers. Religious conservatives might take offense that the author injected a healthy dose of moral relativism into the book. Although the Scarlet Letter must have irked many a Christian in its time and possibly our own, the novel stands out as being eerily relevant two centuries after it was written.

Cite This Term Paper:

"Nathaniel Hawthorne Was Born In" (2008, June 20) Retrieved October 26, 2020, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/nathaniel-hawthorne-was-born-in-29232

"Nathaniel Hawthorne Was Born In" 20 June 2008. Web.26 October. 2020. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/nathaniel-hawthorne-was-born-in-29232>

"Nathaniel Hawthorne Was Born In", 20 June 2008, Accessed.26 October. 2020,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/nathaniel-hawthorne-was-born-in-29232