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Scarlet Letter Setting

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    “Setting” is a word used to describe the place, time, assumptions and values of a society In a story. In the Scarlet Letter, the setting was in the Puritan town of Salem In Massachusetts Bay Colony circa 1640. Being that the era and location of the backdrop is in a 17th century Protestant Puritan village, the assumptions and values would be that the townspeople are God-fearing individuals who strictly adhere to the Bible and its preaching.

    In this particular story, the primary conflict was the setting. Without the setting, none of the agony could be followed through, because all of the conflicts ere based off of the Puritan-Biblical interpretation of adultery as a sin. The circumstances caused Hester to be ostracizes, and without the strict Puritan background. Hawthorn’s entire plot would be altered. For these two reasons, the setting played an integral role in the story plot.

    Also, the close-knit community/small town, the contrast of the marketplace with the forest, the scaffold, and the strong Puritan influence all ultimately contributed to the events in the Scarlet Letter. When the “Church of England” became the official religious entity in England, mom of the citizens disagreed with the religion and wished to believe what they wanted. So, these religious rebels made way to the New World to escape persecution. These colonists established their own settlements In America, and one of the settlements that was colonized was Salem, the town where the whole story takes place.

    Puritanism was able its way into much of the colonies. New influence overpowered the Puritan society, but along the surroundings of these new towns were “witches” and Native Americans, people who were considered oddballs that did not follow the church. The whole plot of the story Is driven by Hester sin of sleeping with another man. This occasion Is turned Into a municipal Issue because of the strict Puritan beliefs that adultery and fornication are sins.

    For example, in a society like today or in one in which Hawthorne lived, Hester would probably not have had to be disgraced in front of the town being tied on the scaffold for a period of time, but she would and did have to face this embarrassment in Salem, because of the weight such a sin carried. One of the Important parts of the setting was the relative closeness of the racetrack and the forest. Towards the end of the book, Hester said to Pearl while admonishing her, “We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest. The placement of the marketplace conveniently nearby the forest was an asset Hawthorne used to one, contrast Hester behavior in public versus her behavior in private, and two, to serve as a meeting place for Timescale and Hester to meet, with unexpected visits from Mistress Hibbing’s. The forest’s importance was shown when Hester and Timescale made plans to leave for Europe. In that episode, a lot took place, such as Pearl’s washing of her forehead on which Timescale kissed, and the reunion between Timescale and Hester.

    The privacy of the forest included in the setting allows Hawthorne to portray plot points which are meant to be seen only by the audience. The third factor in the setting which also greatly impacted the story is the close- knit mentality of the town. The town was miniscule In size, which forced constant basis. As the plot goes, Hester was humiliated and thought to be sinful being socially outcast by the entire town. With the component of the small town in the story, the pact that Hester case plays is magnified because everybody is present during her humiliation.

    The setting was arguably the most crucial part of the Scarlet Letter. Primarily, the Puritan presence was the strongest aspect which impacted the story the most. Along Ninth the assumptions and values, the feeling of togetherness in the town and the contrast of concealed truths in the marketplace with the private meeting ground of the forest corroborate the setting’s impact on the conflicts that occur. All in all, Introit the vital literary asset of the setting, this story’s plot and conflicts would have been entirely altered.

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    Scarlet Letter Setting. (2018, Feb 13). Retrieved from

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