Erikson explains that to most English people of the 16th century, Puritans became an annoying sect of rebels. Overbearing and unrelenting, many detested the exaggeration of conventional values that the Puritans displayed. Feeling restricted by the formalities of the Church, Puritans quickly became deviant in the eyes of society. By moving to Massachusetts Bay, Puritans hoped to create their own ideas of what is “right” and “wrong”, much like any community attempting to set boundaries. However, problems arose when laws were to be mandated in a Biblical sense. God could not sit at a pulpit in a courtroom, so then how would a strictly religious group maintain itself? As Erikson states, “one of the surest ways to confirm an identity, for communities as well as individuals, is to find some way of measuring what one is not”. From this, they developed a keen sense of Devil distinction – that is, ways in which the Devil presented himself through the behaviors of individuals.
There are many ways that people can isolate themselves. Isolation is not always something brought upon one’s self. Isolation can be optional, or a person may have no option in isolation. Stevie Smith, Nathaniel Hawthorne and E.A Robinson show, develop, and illustrate the theme of isolation in their short story and poems.
Psychology can play a major role in novels and the mental state of a character can reveal inner thoughts and desires. A character’s mental state can be classified under multiple psychological instances because they are based on the external influences. Each character’s case is unique and effects them in varied ways. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, characters face isolation of Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale to present his novel as an impact of that isolation.
Isolation is an individual or place being separated, to be or remain alone or apart from others. In “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorn, Reverend Dimmsdale and Hester Prynne committed an unacceptable sin during the prutain times, adultery. The major punishment Hester had to face was to serve many months in prison, attach a scarlet letter, “A” on her chest, and stand on the scaffold for couple of hours under public scrutiny. "Thus the young and the pure would be taught to look at her, with the letter flaming on her chest…. as the figure, the body and the reality of sin"(73). Holding onto the sins you’ve committed can lead to isolation and alienation.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a brilliant writer of the 19th century. Hawthorne created a novel that reflected the time period of the Puritans in New England. The Scarlet Letter contains a representation of the people during that time period but can also be related to the reader’s time period. Originally, God created the world with complete perfection until man fell, and sin entered the world. In the eyes of God, a sin is a sin. There is no worse sin that one can commit. Man is the one that decided that one sin could be more harshly judged than another. Hawthorne uses the theme of sin to show the importance of one’s faith and conviction and how those principles relate to fallen sinners.
Isolation is defined as being far away from other places, buildings, or people; remote. Isolation can come in many different forms: physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. In the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dimmesdale seems to deal with all four. When Dimmesdale sinned with Hester and the sin was as known, Dimmesdale had to take a backseat and watch her face the punishment for him which, caused him to have a guilty conscience. The guilty conscience of Dimmesdale brings him isolation to himself, to his family, to his town, and to God.
I do not want to bother you, for I know that you are always very busy. I am although, very concerned with the situation dealing with Mrs.Hester Prynne, and her young daughter Pearl. A child needs to grow up learning to communicate with others, and making many friends. A life of isolation is not suitable for a child. If Hester was to become ill or injured who would take care of Pearl? Lastly, how do we know if Pearl is being brought up right? Obviously Mrs.Prynne does not have the same morals as we do.
Conflict can take on many forms in one’s life, such as conflict with self, with society, with religion and with others. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, develops the theme of conflict through the moral sin of Hester Prynne. Conflict is observed through Hester’s difficulties with the townspeople, challenges with the Puritan way of life, struggles with herself and tensions with Roger Chillingworth. Committing sin in the Puritan society leads to a great deal of conflicts.
Though never forced to don a branding like the letter “A” in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, people in modern society are always remembered along with their act of wrongdoing. However, the subjects of the public judgement may not see their choices as immoral. People shame for a difference in beliefs and morals. For instance, Kim Kardashian, a popular reality TV star attained her own personal fame by making a sex tape with rapper Ray J, and, consequently, was shamed in the headlines. Despite the bashing, Kim did not see why her act was deemed shameful. Kim acts as a modern day Hester Prynne because she underwent the same humiliation from her society.
In the Scarlet Letter all of the characters deal with isolation in some form. Every single one of them deals with it internally, but two of them have to face it externally as well. Roger Chillingworth was isolated from the man he used to be. Chillingworth didn’t let anyone know his true identity, therefore isolating himself from all the townspeople. Hester Prynne was isolated by everyone.
The Puritans goal in New England was to create the perfect pure society where nobody sinned and God ruled completely. They attempted this by making laws about and regulating every aspect of life in the colony. To achieve this, the church needed to rule the colony. And if the church ruled the colony, only the real Puritans could be part of the church. They believed only a minority of the population pure enough to be a part of the church. In reality very few people were ever able to give enough evidence that they had completed their part. As a result, two-thirds of the population failed to qualify as church members. The Puritans enacted many laws to keep the non-Puritans living religious lives. They created an official whose only job was to check up on ten families daily to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening and to make sure everyone who was able went to church. Their idea was that everybody, even if they weren’t part of the church, should be very religious. Therefore they created their laws with principles based on the Old Testament. They dreamed of a society where everybody followed the laws and lived a peaceful, god-fearing existence. To make this dream realizable, the Puritans created severe penalties for breaking the laws. These ranged from whipping and being thrown in the stocks for minor offenses, to banishment and death by hanging for serious ones. To be a good Puritan one had to work hard all
Often in society people are criticized, punished and despised for their individual choices and flaws. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author uses Hester Prynne to symbolize that those who challenge social conformities can benefit society as a whole. Though she has been banished for committing adultery, she sees that the community needs her. Through her generous accomplishments the community realizes she is a person who, regardless of her sin, can affect the community in a positive way.
There has been a constant dispute over whether people should be governed by determinism or free will. Determinism is the idea that our actions and fate are predetermined and every occurrence can be explained or has a reason for happening; free will, in contrast, is the idea that we have the ability to act independently of external restraints. In the 17th century, Puritan society arose in New England as one that was governed by its religious views, and thus was a deterministic one. Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates this in his novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the characters Hester, Dimmesdale, Pearl, and Chillingworth are alienated by society. Although
The first chapter of the scarlet letter is pretty descriptive but contains little to no action. However, it does set the pace for the things to come later in the letter. For now, a crowd of grey pilgrims stand outside one of the first things built in their Boston settlement. Their gaze is focused on a large wooden prison door. It looks like something straight out of medieval Europe’s dungeon system. Spikes and all, it was created to hold dangerous criminals. No matter how the founders of new colonies may feel, they will end up building a prison and a cemetery immediately. This is true because the Boston residents did it. Other than this drab scene, is the rose bush that grows next to the prison door. This is nature having pity on the
The theme of isolation is highly present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Isolation Plays a very important role in the novel. Every main character finds themselves isolated in one way or another, but while some are absolutely and thoroughly destroyed by it, others gain loads of power. Characters Hester Prynne, Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale are all victims of isolation in the Puritan town of Boston, due to a different reasons such as Adultery, upbringing, and their past.