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The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter written in 1850 by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about a Puritan society in Massachusetts The theme of this novel is largely sin and how the guilty parties were not equally treated for the same sin or exposed for the wrong that they had done in the eyes of God Hawthorne describes deception the withholding of the truth and secrecy in the development of the plot and characters in the novel Hawthorne vividly makes use of symbolism and feminine status in Puritan New England giving The Scarlet Letter a complex plot American transcendentalist Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4 1804 in Salem Massachusetts to Elizabeth Manning and Nathaniel Hathorne Stewart 2 It is said that Hawthorne inherited his fathers sternness moodiness and desire to stay to himself 3 Hawthorne spent his college years in Maine 13 and married Sophia Peabody in 1842 62 Hawthorne was once called the American Shakespeare by Herman Melville 249 The use of symbolism by Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter can first be seen in the prison The prison may be linked symbolically to the rigorous enforcement of Puritan laws Also Hawthorne refers to Ann Hutchinson who rebelled against the Puritan beliefs and was imprisoned Hawthorne describes a rose bush growing outside and how impossible it was that it should be growing there by saying This rose-bush by a strange chance has been kept alive in history but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness or whether as the is fair authority for believing it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson as she entered the prison-door Literary Classics of the United States 159 This rose bush is symbolic of passion and Hesters sin is one of passion The rosebush in bloom parallels the fact that Hester has given birth to a child as a result of her passionate sin Perhaps the most
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