Romanticism in “The Scarlet Letter”

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a romantic novel set in 1644 Boston, Massachusetts. Hawthorne uses the elements of American Romanticism to criticize Puritanism and organized religion, and glorify nature and individualism. The characters of Pearl and Hester are portrayed as the most notable Romantic thinkers, while others, like Chlorinating, are condemned for blindly following Puritan ideals. Hawthorne emphasizes the importance of nature, innocence, and purity as essential elements of classical romance. The novel also highlights the value of original thought and emotional liberation over mindless worship and reasoning. In conclusion, The Scarlet Letter is a standard classic of the romance genre that builds upon the foundations and principles of American Romanticism.

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A Scarlet Romance is the year 1644, Boston Massachusetts, and the stage is set for one of the most famous romance novels of our time. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne set a genre standard for American Romanticism, with an intrinsic love of nature, sense of freedom of Imagination and emotion, and the low regard Hawthorne holds for organized religion and all that It entails. In his novel, Hawthorne builds on the standards of romanticism, as the trend away from Puritanism and religious Oligarchy.

One of the essential, driving elements to Hawthorn’s Scarlet Letter, is the deeply rooted romantic value associated with Nature, with all of its innocence and Purity. Thought the novel, it becomes evident what poor and corrupt people the puritans of New England are, but countering the degradation of the Puritan Oligarchy, is the glorifying of Nature and all things associated with it. An essential element of classical romance, Is nature, natures purity, and finding truth In nature.

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Specifically we can see Hawthorne making the connection to nature through Pearl, who’s name even has a natural meaning, being a thing of great beauty. Furthermore, Pearl seems to be naturally innocent and has a seemingly supernatural connection to nature, as we see her growing up as “an elf-child” in her childhood cottage in a meadow. This simple fact, that her haven, is outside town and in a forest, as well as Hawthorn’s grim view of the town, shows his value placed on nature as a romantic element.

Still yet, Hawthorne uses nature as his stage, highlighting Pearl, the innocent and pure, in rebuttal sunlight. Thus Hawthorne uses the classical romance element of nature to build the innocence and purity of virtue that a romance novel Is always based on . The sense of Innocence and purity established through the symbolism of nature, Is furthered Though the use of original emotion and imagination. Though out the Scarlet Letter, characters are either involved in mindless Puritan Worship and “reasoning” or original emotion and imagination.

Thought the novel Hawthorne uses the plot and various context clues to show us what he thinks of Puritan values and ace of original thought. The characters, must choose a path, following and accepting Puritanism, or a path of their own design, of free thought and flowing emotions. In the end, the characters of Pearl and Hester are the most notable Romantic thinkers, and both enjoy a favorable future. However some other characters such as Chlorinating, are condemned to follow the Puritan Ideals blindly, and It leads to a hypocritical death and evilness.

Furthermore, certain aspects of the entire Puritan aching are held In a negative light, from the Minister, who Is Ironically confused for Satan, and the entire city, when It Is described that the road Into town, out of the forest, was a gloomy one. Yet again we can see Hawthorn’s support of his romantic In Hawthorn’s condemnation of the Puritan society, is another strong argument of romanticism. Hawthorne continually condemns the puritans lack of personal responsibility and independence, which go against the romantic ideal of one finding independent, personal meaning to their life.

The puritan society is continually held by Hawthorne in low regard, as he degrades their actions, from the hypocrisy of their lodgment, to their single-track minded view of the world. Rush, Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter is a true romance novel, as he builds it upon the foundations and principles of romanticism. From the deep rooted love of nature, to the encouragement and value placed in original and free thought, to emotional liberation, Hawthorn’s novel is a standard classic of the genre.

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Romanticism in “The Scarlet Letter”. (2018, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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