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Nathaniel Hawthornes background influenced him to write the bold novel The Scarlet Letter Oneimportant influence on the story is money Hawthorne had never made much money as an author and thebirth of his first daughter added to the financial burden Biographical Note VII He received a job atthe Salem Custom House only to lose it three years later and be forced to write again to support hisfamily IX Consequently The Scarlet Letter was published a year later IX It was only intended to bea long short story but the extra money a novel would bring in was needed Introduction XVI Hawthornethen wrote an introduction section titled The Custom House to extend the length of the book and TheScarlet Letter became a full novel XVI In addition to financial worries another influence on thestory is Hawthornes rejection of his ancestors His forefathers were strict Puritans and JohnHathorne his great-great-grandfather was a judge presiding during the Salem witch trials Biographical Note VII Hawthorne did not condone their acts and actually spent agreat deal of his life renouncing the Puritans in general VII Similarly The Scarlet Letter was aliteral soapbox for Hawthorne to convey to the world that the majority of Puritans were strict andunfeeling For example before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of womenwho feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives Instead of only being made tostand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest they suggest that she have it branded onher forehead or even be put to death Hawthorne 51 Perhaps the most important influence on the story isthe authors interest in the dark side Introduction VIII Unlike the transcendentalists of theera Hawthorne confronted reality rather than evading it VII Likewise The Scarlet Letter dealswith adultery a subject that caused much scandal when it was first published XV The book revolves around sin and punishment a far outcry from writers of
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