The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne's Puritan Background in His Novels 11th Grade

Nathanial Hawthorne successfully exposed the puritanical lifestyle in its’ entirety within his celebrated novel, The Scarlet Letter. He was born during the 19th century, but set his story in the 17th century, revealing his keen knowledge on the subject of puritanism. His desire to examine the curious human nature compelled his beginning within this particular time period. “Hawthorne's works probe into human nature, especially its darker side. He set many stories against the somber background of Puritan New England, the world of his ancestors” (Clendenning). Nathanial was one of the few authors of his time willing to step out on a limb and depict a more obscure way of life to readers, catching the eye of many a critic. He received a plethora of analyses, both favorable and unfavorable. Nonetheless, he set plenty of his other writings within this certain time period as well. Despite Hawthorne’s being born in the 19th century, he took the risk of portraying a grimmer time period in which Puritanism was prominent. His primary motive was to illustrate the act of isolation practiced on notorious sinners, which was unfortunately scorned upon by many critics.

During the sixteenth century, a religious movement...

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