Scarlet Letter Transcendentalism Essay

777 Words4 Pages
Transcendentalism – “a belief in a higher knowledge than achieved by human reason.” is a philosophical and social movement beginning in the 1830’s, thinkers like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were the focal points of the movement. Some of their writings such as The Dial, Nature, and Walden are all transcendentalist pieces that were revolutionary at their time of release, and can be related to Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne embodies transcendentalism by her nonconformist, self-reliant mindset and her perseverance to overcome the judgmental eye of Puritan society. The fact that Hester is a transcendentalist is reverberated through events within the novel. In the opening chapters of the novel, Hester is standing on the scaffold to be publicly shamed by her Puritan community, Hawthorne describes the situation as such: “When the young…show more content…
In chapter five when children come to her window, watch her as she works, and watch her as she walks through town, Hester pays no mind and goes about her business. Even when children runaway from her at the sight of her scarlet letter she carries on; though they are children, the prejudiced opinions placed upon her whether from their own thoughts or their parents’ strike a chord, but Hester doesn’t recluse into her own thoughts, she continues her daily routine; this stands to further prove her nonconformity in the blatant face of shame. As Sojourner Truth says, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!” (Ain’t I A Woman) Sojourner was a nonconformist. Though they are in completely different situations and times, parallels can be drawn. The way that Truth goes against the mindset and notions of society and her community make her a transcendentalist; similarly, Hester Prynne defies the laws and morals of Puritan

More about Scarlet Letter Transcendentalism Essay

Open Document