Homework Help

What is the setting of "The Scarlet Letter?" Why is the setting important to the...

user profile pic

richboy25b | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:03 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the setting of "The Scarlet Letter?" Why is the setting important to the novel's man vs. society conflict?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:32 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The setting of this is Massachusetts in the 1640s.  This is a time when the Puritan religion was the official religion of the colony.  The Puritan system made it so that the government could enforce the moral values of the Puritan church on the people of the community.

This is why the setting is important.  The society and the government of the time and place where the story is set are very opposed to Hester's actions and to the idea of individual freedom of conscience in general.  This makes it easy to have a man vs society conflict because the society's values are opposed to those of the protagonist.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes