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Can the scarlet letter be considered a timeless american classic? Why or why not?I have...

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user1049926 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM via web

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Can the scarlet letter be considered a timeless american classic? Why or why not?

I have my own opinion but I would like to get a few more to really make my paper diverse and not only from one point of view. Please help.

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lkhernandez | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 12, 2013 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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The Scarlet Letter can definitely be considered a timeless classic. First of all, it gives very good insight into what residing in the Puritan culture was like. Moreover, it offers perspective into what it was like when you did not abide by every strict belief they imposed within their societies. It offers criticism into their "pure" and "godly" ways by submitting Hester to public ostracism because she did something they did not approve of. It is a great example of one American society and how it functioned.

Hawthorne's language is so intricate and descriptive that it reveals so much about Hester's suffering and acceptance, Dimmesdale's suffering, as well as detailed explanations of the setting and the motivations Hawthorne feels drive the society. The writing style is beautiful.

The character development is immense with Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth. It develops slowly, but it is intricate and expertly done. 

Finally, the novel is an exceptional example of the strength of the human heart. Hester gracefully accepts her fate, suffers alone, is tormented by the return of her husband, and learns to function in the community and move past her punishment.

 

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gojsawyer | Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:37 AM (Answer #2)

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The Scarlet Letter can be considered a timeless American classic because the story of Hester Prynne that illustrates the ideas of sin and public humiliation to punish the sin of adultery are uniquely American. Hawthorne reflects somewhat extreme Judeo-Christian values that harshly punish females for becoming sexually impure. Adultery in American culture is certainly still stigmatized, particularly when a child results from the union. Modern American society silently disapproves of such women with unseen scarlet letter “A's" of shame. As such, The Scarlet Letter is still as relevant today as it was when it was published.

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