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Thematic critical analysis - Essay Example

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Thematic critical analysis

The novel takes place in a seventeenth century Puritan community, when it is discovered that Hester has been unfaithful to her long gone husband. As punishment she is forced to wear the letter "A" on her forever.
Wearing the letter "A", symbolizing for adultery, was the real punishment in the Puritan community; however even in history there is never any mention of the letter being of red color. The main focus of the story is how Hester is forced to wear the scarlet colored letter on her all the time. Hawthorn specifically made sure that the letter was of the color red. He chose the color red purposely, his inspiration with British History had a hand in this as well. "In Northumberland's lament appears a reference to the day of judgment as an occasion when a person's sins are exposed and judged-the record described as a type of list, or bead-rolUXmt 116)^ and as a "black booke" to be "vnclaspt" at that time (118). This reference to a book of judgment and damnation presents nothing less than a source for the imagistic link in The Scarlet Letter between the embroidered letter worn by Hester-as well as the transgression which brought her such punishment-and the book of the "Black Man," in which the letters of the sinner's name would be inscribed in the scarlet hue of their own blood (Canadas 45). It is explained here by Canadas that the color red was chosen due to its association with blood and the severity of the crime. In the "Black Man" the names of the sinners will be written in their own blood. Sinners have committed unforgivable offenses for which it must be shown to the world, through their own blood, that harshness of their offence. In this same manner Hawthorn shows that Hester must wear the letter in the color red. It is a symbol of her offence against her marriage, her husband and most of all the pureness and innocence of the community.
Which brings us to the next point, the social standards of this community are very narrow. This shows the influence of the environment in which Hester resided. If adultery had been committed in the twenty-first century, no one could have even though about physically punishing Hester. It still would have been looked down upon, but it would be her private life. Lets take a closer look at time frame and setting of this novel. It is mid-seventeenth century, Boston, Massachusetts. When Hawthorn this novel it was 1840 in Salem, his story takes place only two hundred years prior to the actual time. Let us also keep in mind that Hawthorn himself was from the Puritan descendants and therefore his literary flair was limited. "According to Nathaniel Hawthorne's biographer, Henry James, Jr. Hawthorne's heritage as a descendant of the "clearest Puritan strain" served to restrict his literary talent to the exploration of one theme: the "consciousness of sin""(Taylor 135). The main focus of the Puritans was the sin and how to erase it. Obviously this kind of breeding led to Hawthorne only being able to write about this subject. The conscious sin refers to the sin that is committed even after obtaining the knowledge that this behavior is forbidden and will be condemned. However even after having this knowledge and understanding the consequences when one still commits a sin, it is referred to as ...Show more

Summary

Everything in life has dual meanings, it simply depends on the world how they decides to perceive. This perspective vastly depends on what nature of social surroundings the community exists in and what standards are acknowledged in that era. This viewpoint is also exposed in the literature of that time…
Author : ykihn
Thematic critical analysis essay example
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