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Hester in a Puritan Society

Uploaded by peteography on Mar 14, 2001

The Puritans, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, were a group of people who were shaped by English experience and complete involvement in religion. The Puritan society molded itself and created a government based upon the Bible and implemented it with force. The crime of adultery committed by Hester generated rage, and was qualified for serious punishment according to Puritan beliefs. Ultimately the town of Boston became intensely involved with Hester’s life and her crime of adultery, and saw to it that she be publicly punished and tortured. Based upon the religious, governmental, and social design of the Puritan society, Hester’s entire existence revolved around her sin and the Puritan perception. Therefore it is evident within The Scarlet Letter that the Puritan community to some degree has constructed Hester’s character.

In the novel The Scarlet Letter it is evident that the base of their social framework was that of the Church. The Church and beliefs of Protestantism became all encompassing within the town of Boston; meaning that the Church would be directly involved in the running of the community and its regime. The Enforcing of laws were established by scripture read from the Bible, as the Puritans considered the Bible as the “true law” of God that provided guidelines for church and government. Those who disagreed or committed crimes against the government, were not only criminals but also sinners, and they were sought to be punished severely. The Puritans stressed grace, devotion, prayer, and self-examination to achieve religious virtue while including a basic knowledge of unacceptable actions of the time; this was expected to secure order and peace within the Puritan community. The Puritan culture is one that recognizes Protestantism, a sect of Christianity. Though a fundamental of Christianity is forgiveness for one’s sins, this seems to have been forgotten amongst the women of the community: “Morally, as well as materially, there was a coarser fiber in those wives and maidens of old English birth and breeding, than in their fair descendants.” As read between the lines we can notice a concern in Hester’s acceptance within the Puritan community. More so, Hester senses a lack of acceptance within the circle of woman in the community. The use of the term “coarser fiber” intertwines the relationship that she once had, and what it has become within the woman of the community. It has also come to my attention that when Hester compares...

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Uploaded by:   peteography

Date:   03/14/2001

Category:   The Scarlet Letter

Length:   7 pages (1,483 words)

Views:   2566

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