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For what 2 practical  necessities does the new colony set aside land in The Scarlet...

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cristina778 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 13, 2012 at 3:34 AM via web

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For what 2 practical  necessities does the new colony set aside land in The Scarlet Letter?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM (Answer #1)

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In the second paragraph of Chapter I of Nathaniel Hawthorne's narrative of Puritan gloom,The Scarlet Letter, he writes that the founders of the new "Utopia" perceived it among their duties and 

their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a (1) cemetery, and another portion as the site of a (2) prison.

Thus, Hawthorne sets the "sad-coloured" mood  and the reflective tone that Puritanism has as it pursuit the end of life and severe restrictions upon that life while on earth even before Hester Prynne steps onto the ignominous scaffold where she must stand in public shame.

In addition, the irony of this opening statement is that the Puritans have come to America for freedom, particularly religious freedom; however,within their own communities, the Puritans appear  rigid and extremely restrictive.  This message, then, arouses the suspicions of the reader regarding the Puritans' real freedom, and, in turn, stirs a curiosity for Hester's defiant excessiveness of embroidery and "gorgeous luxuriance of fancy" for her scarlet A and the sin it represents, as well as her proud stance--"haughty as her demeanour was"-- on this scaffold.  

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