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The next generation of American novelists were more accomplished and,on the whole, more assured in their craft. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64),educated at Bowdoin College and born in Salem, Massachusetts, of old NewEngland stock—and indeed, the lineal descendent of one of the notoriouswitch-hunters of Salem—was a writer to whom, understandably, the Puritanpast loomed large, as he revealed not only in his short stories but in TheScarlet Letter (1850), probably his most celebrated work, and in The Houseof Seven Gables (1851) as well. There is one foundational element that works against British/American greatness in the arts.Namely, The Puritanism of New England was not favorable to the development of the arts. American theater offers emotional rather than intellectual pleasures.1. Puritans did not think much of the theater.
Hawthorne also employed the historical perspective of the Puritans to reflect on the continuing subservience of American women under the law. Generally speaking, in the first third of the 19th century, women accepted that their role was to provide a moral and emotional center to the man’s public life. Women were supposed to cherish their differences from men and endeavor to attain an ideal condition.
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