How Does Nathaniel Hawthorne Reflect Radical Individualism

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Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both reflect radical individualism and Transcendentalist thinking. Hawthorne expresses this in the book The Scarlet Letter on chapter five and Emerson expresses this in his essay, “Self-Reliance.” Each author expresses the importance of freedom, the need for self-reliance, and the benefits of isolation through their writings. They both define the self as the center of reality, and the characters of their literature are all individuals who discover inner freedom through solitude and the realization of the self. Each is an example of radical individualism in them by breaking the bonds of community, tradition, and dependence in order to achieve self-realization. In the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne creates the character of Hester Prynne, who is alienated from the people who surround her, and so achieves a state of self-reliance in her isolation, similar to that of the Emerson’s self-reliance portrayed in his essay, “Self-Reliance”. Therefore, the theme in self-reliance and the scarlet letter’s chapter 5 is and an individual to avoid conformity and follow one’s instincts and ideas, regardless of what critics or others may say.…show more content…
For example, in "Self-Reliance" Emerson states that "Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members" and that "the virtue in most request is conformity." Thus, Hester represents the life of one who rebelled against her society and who only obeyed, for a short period of time, out of necessity. Although, her spirit remained unbroken by the forces of the theocracy in which she

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