how to read literature like a professorAssume that foster is right and ''it is all political''.use his criteria to show that one of the major works assigned to you as a freshman is political. what...

how to read literature like a professor

Assume that foster is right and ''it is all political''.use his criteria to show that one of the major works assigned to you as a freshman is political.

what is the political aspect in'' scarlet letter''

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Puritan colony in which Hester Prynne resides is a theocracy since the leaders of the Church dictate law and the punishments for violations of their society's rules.  Adultery is forbidden in this Puritan community; therefore, Hester is punished for having broken a law of the community.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Scarlet Letter is political because it is a good example of a controlling society.  Today we still have groups what want to limit the rights of others. Women are still not created equally either.  So the book is actually political today as well, for metaphorical and practical reasons.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Foster makes the point that even when it's not political, it's political.  One of the nuances that Hawthorne captures is the politics of a small town, and by politics I mean the power play among individuals and groups in the town.  The Scarlet Letter is the classic case of social groups politicking against each other; as Hester Prynne's condition leaves her without the protection of any group, she is the obvious and easy target.  Everybody turns against her.  Reverend Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is above reproach in the small town political sphere, because he represents a strong nexus of power, the church. 

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Feminism is also a "political" construct applicable to The Scarlet Letter.  In the society represented in the book, which reflects the reality of many societies to this day, it is the female who bears the brunt of venturing outside sexual mores, in spite of the fact that both male and female have strayed. 

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Foster mean that all literature is set in a particular time and place and that time and place have a "political" and/or social setting as well as a geographical setting. In the case of The Scarlet Letter the political setting is very early America when the New World was just being settling by the Puritans from England. The political setting is therefore defined by the religious attitudes of the townspeople and the laws under which they live. In this political setting, unwed mothers are scorned and punished by the wearing of the scarlet A as a regular reminder of their sin. In this setting, religious figures like Dimmesdale are put on a pedestal and treated with the utmost respect. 

saeedat's profile pic

saeedat | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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It will be next to impossible to separate politics from human societies. Every action a character takes, literarily or figuratively, it is with a particular motive. Scarlet Letter explores germane issues of gender discrimination which even till date is a burning issue. As much as adultery is abhored, being selective in punishing one of the culprits is just not right. The politics in the novel reveals in the selective punishing of Hester when as it is said "it takes two to tango". At the point when it is determined that Hester is a victim in the 'adultery' charge, the failure of the puritan society to make the guilty party wear the scarlet letter smacks of a conspiracy against the womenfolk.

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