The Scarlet Letter

The Custom House pt 2 More ?s

What is the “true reason” for Hawthorne’s introduction? Why is old Salem important for Hawthorne?

How does Hawthorne feel about his Custom House job?

How does Hawthorne describe the Scarlet Letter?

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"The Custom-House” is a stand-alone section of the novel. It resembles more a tract or a personal essay than an introduction to a piece of fiction, but it offers plenty of insights that will support the rest of The Scarlet Letter. For one thing, we gain a sense of why the narrator feels the need to tell the story. As a man of youth and vigor, he feels somewhat at odds with the Puritan nature of his society. He himself seems to feel a deep resentment for the strict fidelity to rules and values that would deem his whole personality, and his ambition to write, as frivolous or even sinful.

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