Puritanism Quotes (28 quotes)
Introduction to The Scarlet Letter
Puritanism in the Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne a considerable amount of time after the Puritan era. Throughout the novel, one can see criticism toward the hypocritical, intolerant, and judgemental characteristics of the Puritan religion. Hawthorne implies that the majority of the conflicts in the story are a result of the strictness of Puritan beliefs. One can see that this is true due to the fact that a jail and cemetery are readily available in the town where Hester lives. Hawthorne expresses that the Puritans are quick to place blame on one another. This shows that even the Puritan children have a disrespect for other religions.
This was a close representation of the actual society. Their numbers were so large they ended up forming what is known today as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The puritans had varying degrees of beliefs where society, religion and the family structure is concerned. They believed men were head of the household and made all important decisions, while women were just there to take care of housework. This great family structure kept everyone in line with God, and adultery or any kind of sexual sin was shunned severely. Maybe he believed that women contributed more to society than their role as good housewives and child bearers, or maybe he was trying to point out the injustice of punishing women who commit adultery. Hawthorne uses the symbol of the scarlet letter in his three main characters to criticize the puritan world and to question whether their beliefs and punishments are justified.