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What information does The Scarlet Letter reveal about New England?

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gamze87 | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:12 PM via iOS

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What information does The Scarlet Letter reveal about New England?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:52 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the interesting aspects of this novel is the comment that it presents on the relationship between New England and old England which they had left behind. Clearly, when the main story of the novel is set, memories of their old homeland were very much in the minds of the immigrants, and although the act of emmigration was undertook in order to leave old England, the novel comments on the links that remain between New and old England and the way that, at times, the pilgrims consciously based New England on ideas and ceremonies from old England. The election of the governers was such an occasion:

The dim reflection of a remembered splendour, a colourless and manifold diluted repetition of what they had beheld in proud old London--we will not say at a royal coronation, but at a Lord Mayor's show--might be traced in the customs which our forefathers instituted with reference to the annual installation of magistrates.

New England, although it is presented in the novel as an attempt of the Puritans to create their own society where they are able to worship God in the way they choose free from persecution, is also therefore inextricably bound up in its identity with old England, and Election Day is just one example of the way that the settlers deliberately drew upon English tradition and ceremony in order to "impart a needed dignity to the simple framework of a government so newly constructed." New England, in one sense, is therefore presented as still possessing very strong links with old England, in spite of the distances separating these two locations. 

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