Scarlet Letter Puritan Values Essay

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To what extent and with what success are the characters Hester and Pearl used to critique Puritan values? Hawthorne criticises the Puritan values throughout ‘The Scarlet Letter’, mainly through the characters Hester and Pearl, in how they are treated in society by the Puritan people, using the town’s people to represent the hypocrisy of Puritans. He forces the reader to sympathise with Hester and her illegitimate child as Hawthorne commits to a strong yet subtle negativity towards the Puritan society. Hawthorne identifies the autobiographical tone throughout ‘The Scarlet Letter’ describing the interest of Hester Prynne in the ‘Introductory’. ‘There were several foolscap sheets, containing many particulars respecting the life and conversation…show more content…
The use of the word ‘black’ next to ‘flower’ contrast each other, making this line, in particular, stand out. ‘Black’ is associated with death and misery which is what Hawthorne puts across in order to show a sense of negativity towards the Puritan society. ‘A throng of bearded men, in sad coloured garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded was assembled in front of a wooden edifice’. The adjectives ‘sad’ ‘gray’ and the description of both the ‘bearded men’ and women show a gloomy side towards the Puritan people. This is to show a distinctive difference when Hester Prynne is introduced, represented as a ‘wild rose bush’, standing out from among the ‘gray’ scenery. The use of ‘wild’ shows Hester’s persona in that she is independent and unconventional during the seventeenth century. Another interpretation for the rose bush could be the representation of Pearl as among the immoral there is good in someone among the society as Hawthorne describes the rose bush as a whole; not just a rose. Hawthorne’s succession with the reader siding with Hester is residing as Hester is described along with something beautiful ‘covered in gems’ and the towns people a contrastingly dull

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