The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1500 Words May 19th, 2016 6 Pages
As setting dramatically sets the context of a piece, the clothing reveals more about characters than their fashion sense. Clothing provides insight into how the author wishes certain people to be viewed and what they represent. From the time children are very young, they associate clothing with different jobs and types of people. Superheroes wear capes. Construction workers wear neon vests. Doctors wear long, white coats. While a man wearing jeans in a grocery store could be a doctor, he is not directly associated with that profession based simply on his appearance. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the clothing worn by groups of people influence the work as a whole because of the strong stereotypes attached to them specifically that of the Puritan townsfolk, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Hester Prynne.

Stereotypes tap into the reader’s prior knowledge and bias towards different groups of people. The Scarlet Letter opens surveying, “A throng of bearded men, in sad colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats,” which the reader almost immediately recognize at Puritans (Hawthorne 55). Puritans, known for their fierce, Christian morals and brutal punishments, provide a lush background for the reader before dissecting the novel. Knowing Puritan opposition lies in rebellious and sinful citizens, readers can already infer the story about a rebel or sinner who is treated inhumanely by their Puritan neighbors. The self-righteous nature of the Puritans, pitted against…

Related Documents