Essay On Transcendentalism In The Scarlet Letter

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Transcendentalism is not a religion, but way of thought. Although each transcendentalist holds different beliefs close to them, the main ideas are the same; to be alone, to be self reliant, and to be in nature. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the writer of The Scarlet Letter, was himself a transcendentalist who believed that religious persecution was wrong, and that separation of church and state was essential; he uses the Puritans to illustrate this. Hawthorne “added a 'w' to distinguish himself from the history which included John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem witch trials of 1692-3.”(Nathaniel) The Scarlet Letter captures transcendentalist views by following the life and punishment of Hester Prynne for seven years after she committed adultery with Arthur Dimmsdale, who was a highly respected Puritan minister. Puritan ideals condemn and type of sexual conduct outside of …show more content…
Hester’s sin was that she had out of marriage sex with another man, Arthur Dimmsdale. The town’s people, upset with her actions, ordered her to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’. "Ah, but let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart." (Hawthorne, Chapter II) The guilt of her actions eats away at Hester, but not as much as they do for Dimmsdale. The main difference between how Hester is punished compared to Dimmsdale, is that while Hester’s sin is known by all, she does not say that Dimmsdale was her partner in that sin. They ‘A’, in a way, is an outlet for Hester, Dimmsdale does not have the same luxury. If it were found that Dimmsdale were an adulterer, he would almost certainly have been killed. The guilt tortures Dimmsdale; it festers inside of his soul. To the towns people, Hester’s scarlet letter has become more than a symbol of her sin of adultery. The letters meaning had changed from adulterer to able, as in being able to

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