Puritans and the Scarlet Letter

Decent Essays

Nathaniel Hawthorne was not a Puritan, but he had deep bonds back to this religion, and had ancestors that were in charge of the Salem Witch Trials, a fact that Hawthorne always felt remorse for. In choosing this time period as the setting for The Scarlet Letter, a classic story of love, betrayal and religion, he showcased both the weakness and strengths of this time period and religion.
Like the Pilgrims, the Puritans were from England, and were dissatisfied with the church reform of England. So in 1630, after much persecution, the Puritans set out for America. When they arrived in America they established the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a harbor for Puritans to live and be safe while practicing the Puritan faith. They lived a strict, stern life but were free to worship unlike they were in England. They were strict Calvinists, which means they believed that God was all powerful and had chosen a few people called “the elect” for salvation (Puritans). The Puritans believed that humankind was “utterly dependent upon God for salvation... They were [Christians] who regarded humans as sinners, unwilling and unable to meet the demands, or to enjoy the fellowship, of a righteous God apart from God's gracious initiative” (Puritanism).
Throughout the novel, Hawthorne's viewpoint of this society doesn’t seem to show except in a few places in the novel; he usually seems to hold an unbiased, straightforward presentation of this time period. He does comment on the harshness and

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