Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter Essay

1008 Words Dec 13th, 2015 5 Pages
If a teacher were to ask a student if Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, should stay in the curriculum, the student might answer with a vexed look and a stern ‘no’. Some readers would express frustration with the antique writing style and the overly intricate plot. Even some people from Hawthorne’s time were distracted and unable to recognize Hawthorne’s actual denotation. E.P. Whipple, a nineteenth century essayist and literary critic, wrote “There is a profound philosophy underlying the story which will escape many of the readers whose attention is engrossed by the narrative” (Whipple 345). However, a renowned nineteenth century critic, George B. Loring contended that Whipple’s viewpoint was nonsense. Contrary to what some nineteenth-century critics believe, Hawthorne’s underlying philosophy in The Scarlet Letter is not hidden by an intricate, and sometimes obscure and conflicting, writing style.
Critics of Hawthorne’s time were torn at the print of his 18th book, The Scarlet Letter. One of the most controversial topics was the characters; Are they too simple or too complex? Margaret Oliphant wrote “[The characters] are exhibited to us rather as a surgeon might exhibit his pet ‘cases,’ than as a poet shows his men and women, brothers and sisters to the universal heart” (Oliphant 562). She believed that Hawthorn paid very much attention to his characters. It would be unlikely for Hawthorne to give them a common stereotype. However, he was attempting to portray a…

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