In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter what appears to be the author's attitude towards his Puritan ancestors?  

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pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Hawthorne begins The Scarlet Letter, he tells his audience that new civilizations require two things from the onset, a cemetary and a prision.  This suggests to his audience that he believes the Puritan ancestors to be harsh and unforgiving people.  As the opening chapter continues by describing the prision's door, it describes it as an ancient relic in the new world.  If everything in Boston was built at the same time, yet this door appeared old and overused, it must be because the Puritans are quick to judge and even quicker to punish their neighbors transgressors.

As the town gossips discuss the young mother's punishment, the audience sees Hawthorne again describing the judgemental people. The women suggest that she should have the A branded on her forehead, or that she should be put to death.  No sympathy rests in their hearts for Hester.

At the same time, the story investigates that all the Puritans may not be equally pure of heart.  Governor Bellingham house the most expenisve decorations in his shiny house.  What about the Minister Dimmesdale and the sins held close to his heart?  Hawthorne looks at the people who wre willing to judge and questions if they are as innocent on the inside as the present themselves to be.

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The Scarlet Letter

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