What Themes Are Found in Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter?

Updated: February 12, 2023
The themes found in "The Scarlet Letter" are Puritanism and its affects on the human soul, as well as the hidden sin that can destroy a person's life.
Detailed answer:

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter is a compelling meditation on Puritanism, focusing on the effects of guilt. Throughout the novel, Puritanism is present as an integral part of society, shaping characters’ thinking and behavior in several ways.

The Puritans’ stark beliefs highlight consequences for breaking moral codes, as clearly demonstrated through Hester Prynne’s punishment for adultery – being forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’, which signifies her shame. This concept is further explored through other characters such as Dimmesdale, who carries his own ‘secret sin’ while appearing pious to the public eye.

Additionally, Hawthorne uses motifs such as nature versus man-made law to challenge Puritanical notions and symbolize justice beyond Puritan doctrine. These themes throughout The Scarlet Letter are still pertinent today – emphasizing the importance of self-knowledge, understanding consequences for dishonesty, and appreciating nature in tandem with man-made law.

Another theme found in “The Scarlet Letter” is hidden sin that can destroy a person’s life. Also, themes like the role of women in society, view of sex, view of marriage, view of the family, view of religion can be found in the novel.

Puritanism is a religious movement that began in England during the 16th century. The Puritans believed that people needed to be saved from their sins, which were seen as an outward expression of an inward spiritual condition. They wanted to reform the Church of England so that it was more strict in its teachings and beliefs, but King James I opposed them. As a result, many Puritans left England for America in order to establish their own colony where they could practice their religion freely.

What Themes Are Found in Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter?. (2023, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-themes-are-found-in-nathaniel-hawthornes-the-scarlet-letter/