American Identity In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne And Washington Irving

Decent Essays

The quintessential struggle for identity inundated the American people after the Revolutionary War; the country was faced with the struggle of not only establishing a new government but also with the feat of defining America as a new country. Many literary works and writings were crucial in facilitating the infant nation’s journey in separating from the English culture in order to create this unique American identity. This process of creating an American identity was not realized with either ease or haste, and the concept of American identity altered and grew concurrently with the nation. Literary figures portray different understandings of American identity, each perspective echoing the national reality at of the epoch or expressing a visionary idea of American identity. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving, both from around the early nineteenth century, demonstrate the diversity that exists in the concept of the American identity, though this identity is based in a similar truth. Neither Hawthorne nor Irving are wholly able to separate the concept of American identity from the country’s history and past, as although America is a new county, its origin lies in its Puritan and English heritage; however, in his story “Rip Van Winkle” Irving only focuses on the muddled reality of a shaky and underdeveloped American identity whereas in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne portrays an unique American identity that has begun to grow from the past while still being inseparable from

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