Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter Essays

2292 Words Jan 6th, 2015 null Page
Introduction -
Hawthorne fast establishes a binary opposition in The Scarlet Letter between the Puritan society that condemns Hester’s choices and the contemplation afforded by the isolation of the forest. Pearl is central to this opposition; she, while initially the physical manifestation of sin becomes a dynamic signal of hope and change. The formation of her personality and character belongs largely to the psychological effects of her geographical surroundings; through her mother’s perceived sin she is forced to live away from civilisation and closer to nature. Her functions are many and if there is a moral truth or an intellectual thrust to be extracted from the novel it comes from the actions and representations of Hawthorne’s Pearl.
The belief that truth is to be found in mans return to nature stresses an importance in relation to one’s psychogeography. Hawthorne uses literary modes and frequent symbolism to explore the ideas that Ralph Waldo Emerson and others were bringing to the front of public discourse in the nineteenth century. Pearl, in many ways, is a tool in the evolution of transcendentalism. Her character and the opposing forces in the novel are used to evoke the possibility for radical change and fashion a consciousness that transcends the habits and traditions of Puritan culture in that period. Hawthorne’s ideas in fiction and Emerson’s essays share many complimentary features, but the conclusions they appear to draw around the concerns of the individual…

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