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In The Scarlet Letter, what is Nathaniel Hawthorne's message about the Puritans?Do they...

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kellybelly123 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 27, 2010 at 4:53 AM via web

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In The Scarlet Letter, what is Nathaniel Hawthorne's message about the Puritans?

Do they Puritans forgive Hester? Are the Puritans portayed as "good" people? Does Hawthorne believe what Hester did with Dimmesdale was acceptable?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 27, 2010 at 5:29 AM (Answer #1)

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In the book "The Scarlet Letter" Hawthorne presents the Puritans as being hypercritical to their own principles and doctrine.  The Puritans came to America so they could practice religious freedom away from persecution.  Their faith was a primary concern and that they live the Christian way.

The Puritans in the book are quick to condemn Hester and make her suffer because of her actions.  Pearl, her child also has the fate of having no playmates because of their opinions and persecution.  The Puritans in the book present as the cruel people.

The Puritans only forgive Hester many years later after she returns to her home.  She is then thought of as a confident for women.

Hawthornedoes not exactly condone Hester's and Dimmsdale's behavior.  He gives credence to it.  He recognizes that mankind is weak and things happen.  He has created in Roger a person that Hester could no longer love after her affair with Dimmsdale.  He never allowed Hester or Dimmsdale to be free from their choices.  However, he has the reader wanting to see them together living somewhere else happily.

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