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Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Title: Nathaniel Hawthorne


1
Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Scarlet Letter

2
Puritanism/Scarlet Letter Timeline
  • In the novel
  • -Ch. 1-4 public scaffold scene Pearlbaby in
    mothers arms
  • -Scene at Governor Bellinghams
  • Pearl3 years old
  • -Novels climax at scaffold
  • Pearl7 years old
  • -Last Chapter of novel (sort of)
  • In History
  • -Pilgrims/Puritans come
  • to America
  • -Harvard founded-religious higher education
  • -Christmas Celebration outlawed by Puritans
  • -Salem Witch Trials dissent, love triangles,
    landlustbreakdown of Puritan theocracy w/Judge
    John Hathorne
  • 1620-1628
  • 1638
  • 1642
  • 1645
  • 1649
  • 1655
  • 1692
  • 1850

Hawthorne publishes Scarlet Letter (200 years
later, during Romantic Era, so written in
romantic style, but with Puritan influences and
themes)
3
Hawthorne Bio Info
  • 1804-Childhood
  • College 1821-1825
  • Isolation 1825-1837
  • 1837
  • 1839
  • 1842
  • 1846-1849
  • 1850
  • 1851
  • 1852
  • 1853-1860
  • 1860
  • 1863
  • 1864
  • Salem born, father dies, family poor, single
    mom, adds w
  • Bowdoin, Maine w/F. Pierce, goofed off, mediocre
    student
  • dismal chamber to learn how to write well
  • Twice Told Tales, about secrets of violence in
    heart
  • Engaged utopian farm-Brook Farm
    w/Transcendentalists
  • Marries Sophia, moves to Concord where famous
    writers
  • job at Custom House mom dies, loses job
  • Scarlet Letter and success hellfire story
  • House of Seven Gables and Snow Image
  • Blithedale Romance
  • U.S. Counsel at Liverpool, Marble Fauntravel
    log
  • Pierce defeated LincolnCivil War, H. out of
    place
  • journals Our Old Home
  • dies (of solitude, according to Emerson)

4
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • To what period of American
  • Literature does Hawthorne belong??
  • Lets take a look at the history of American
    Literature..

5
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • English Heritage (Elizabethan Age)
  • 1570-1650 Early Colonial period- Puritan
    writings, no distinctive American literature
  • 1750-1800 Later Colonial period- Age of
    Reason/Enlightenment (Neoclassicism, Rationalism)

6
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • 1800-1850 American Renaissance/ Romanticism-
    slave narratives, inner feelings, the burden of a
    Puritan past, the rejection of Neoclassicism
  • Transcendentalism was a part of this

7
American Romanticism
  • Authors Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe
    (more Gothic/Dark Romantic), Hawthorne
  • Contemporary with Transcendentalists
  • Emerson and Thoreau
  • Valued feelings and intuition over reason
  • Reaction against classicism (rationalism)
  • Valued individual freedom and worth of individual
  • Explore subconscious pre-Freudian psychology,
    faith in inner experience
  • More individualistic, less societal about
    finding yourself
  • Seems ancient, traditional, gothic, pastoral
  • Role of Frontier, critical of societyescape to
    nature to gain moral and spiritual development
  • Gothic elements (darkness, considers conflicts
    between good and evil, sin, insanity,
    psychological effects, etc.)
  • Power of imagination
  • Beauty in exotic, supernatural,
    myth/legend/folklore

8
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • TRANSCENDENTALISM
  • Boston-centered movement, led by Emerson, was an
    important force in New England circles
  • Human existence transcends the sensory realm
  • Belief in individual choice and consequence
  • Focus on the positive

9
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • SUBDIVISION OF ROMANTICISM GOTHIC LITERATURE,
    the dark romantics(1800-1850)
  • -use of supernatural
  • -motif of double (both good and evil in
  • characters sin and evil does exist)
  • -depression, dark forests
  • -Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
  • -emphasis on symbolism (which we will
    discuss later)

10
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
  • The Scarlet Letter is powerfully written but my
    writings do not, nor ever will, appeal to the
    broadest class of sympathies, and therefore will
    not obtain a very wide popularity.
  • -Hawthorne, after
    finishing the novel

11
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
  • As a literary artist
  • First American pro writer college educated,
    familiar with the great European writers
  • 4,000 copies of The Scarlet Letter sold in the
    first 10 days

12
LITERARY ELEMENTS
  • Characters
  • Mood
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Symbolism
  • Themes

13
LITERARY ELEMENTS MOOD
  • The SOMBER, DARK mood is well-defined from the
    beginning
  • sad-colored garments of spectators, the prison
    door which is heavily timbered and studded with
    iron spikes

14
LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING
  • 17th century Puritanical New England (Mass.)
  • What was America like then?

15
LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING
  • Life in the Mid 1600s
  • Boston was founded just 2 decades earlier
  • 1st governor was John Winthrop, who governed
    based on religious and civic ideals
  • People were hardworking and devoted
  • 1630s- Puritans established a number of
    settlements in Massachusetts
  • PURITANISM involved belief that the church of
    England was too much influenced by the Catholic
    church
  • Strict code, on which people were expected to act
    and judged upon
  • Rejected belief that divine authority is
    channeled through any one single person (i.e. the
    pope)
  • THEOCRACY- state governed by the church

16
Theocracy as Extremism
  • Ironically, it is largely because of the
    Puritans who themselves established a
    theocratic government in the New World that we
    in America tend to view most theocratic
    governments as extremist.

17
Puritanism
  • Began in England in the mid-1500s
  • A sect of Calvinists
  • Calvinism named after Swiss theologian John
    Calvin
  • Calvinism
  • predetermination
  • no religious authority BUT Scripture

18
Puritans
  • Puritans intended as a derogatory term
  • Puritans usually referred to themselves as the
    Godly (http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritanism)
  • Puritans fell quickly out of favor in England,
    where the king was the head of the Church of
    England.
  • They recognized neither the kings secular or
    religious authority, and so quickly became
    enemies of civil and religious leaders.

19
The Puritan Role in Development of American
Character
  • In 1600, the Puritans left England for Holland,
    which even in the 17th century was a very liberal
    society.
  • It was too liberal for the Puritans, though, who
    disliked the governments permissiveness and
    tolerance of behaviors/attitudes they found
    unacceptable.

20
The Puritan Role in Development of American
Character, cont.
  • In 1620, the Puritans left Holland for the New
    World.
  • Established Plymouth Plantation in the savage
    wilderness of New England.
  • Retained those aspects of European society they
    liked created new laws, policies, etc. to
    replace the elements of society they did not
    like.

21
The Puritan Role in Development of American
Character, cont.
  • Because Scripture was central to religion and
    government, scholarship was a highly valued right
    (reserved, of course, to men only).
  • The role of religious leaders was to present
    Scripture and guide other church members in its
    understanding and application.
  • Puritan religious leaders were NEVER seen as
    intermediaries or intercessors.

22
The Puritan Role in Development of American
Character, cont.
  • Puritan leaders were highly trained scholars,
    whose education tended to translate into
    positions that were often authoritarian.
    http//xroads.virginia.edu/CAP/PURITAN/purhist.h
    tml
  • There was a built-in hierarchism in this sense,
    but one which mostly reflected the age.
    http//xroads.virginia.edu/CAP/PURITAN/purhist.h
    tml
  • Very Important Anybody (theoretically) could
    rise to the same level of authority.

23
So
  • All of which were discouraged in the Old World
    become the basis of American Rugged
    Individualism
  • This is probably why most Americans disagree so
    strongly with theocracies
  • The Puritan emphasis on
  • self-reliance
  • independence
  • individual achievement
  • individual responsibility
  • personal accountability
  • power through ability (education)

24
Puritan Crime and Punishment
  • Because Puritan Boston c. 1690 was still a
    theocratic society, crime against church (or God)
    was the equivalent of a crime against another
    person or against the State.
  • Yes it was illegal to miss church on Sabbath
    days. It was also illegal to sleep during sermons
    that could run 3 or more hours long during each
    session (morning and afternoon) on a Sabbath.

http//www.materialreligion.org/objects/dec96obj.h
tml
25
Puritan Crime and Punishment, cont.
  • Virtually any offense could land you in the
    pillory, or stocks. The Puritans imported this
    punishment to New England from England.
  • Entire purpose was public display and public
    humiliation.
  • Stocks were built on a scaffold in the center of
    the village, where townspeople could mock the
    offender, and throw rotten vegetables or stones.
    Aside from the offenders hands being
    immobilized, his ears would frequently be nailed
    to the board behind his head.

The Stocks
http//etc.usf.edu/clipart/2100/2111/pillory_1_md.
gif
26
Puritan Crime and Punishment, cont.
  • After serving time in a jail and then on the
    pillory, a convicted criminal would often be
    required to wear some outward sign of his or her
    offense.
  • In 1637, as punishment for writing an essay that
    criticized the archbishop, William Prynne (no
    relation to the central character in The Scarlet
    Letter) after being put in the stocks had the
    letters SL (for seditious libeler) branded
    onto his cheeks.

http//history.wisc.edu/sommerville/367/367-06.htm
27
LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING
  • What aspects of this type of religious society
    can be seen in The Scarlet Letter?
  • How do you think Hawthorne views this type of
    society?

28
How did his life affect the writing of the novel?
  • John Hathorne presided over
  • the Salem Witch Trials of 1692
  • Major William Hathorne (1608-1681) persecuted
    quakers

1. Influences on Hawthorne Puritan background
29
MAJOR THEMES
  • PURITAN MORALITY v. PASSION AND INDIVIDUALISM
    /Adultery
  • Individual Rights/Self-trust v. accommodation to
    authority
  • Conventional v. unconventional gender roles
  • Guilt sense of guilt forced by puritanical
    heritage/society
  • Hypocrisy v. Integrity
  • Moral Pride v. Intellect
  • The penalties of isolation/ isolation because of
    self-cause and societal cause
  • Patriarchal power
  • Belief in fate/free will
  • Impossibility of earthly perfection

30
MAJOR THEMES Perhaps his greatest interest was
the human capacity on how sin operates on the
inner workings of minds
  • With the superstition common to his
    brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a
    fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and
    desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and
    despair of pardon as a foretaste of what awaits
    him beyond the grave. But it was the constant
    shadow of my presence!--the closest propinquity
    of the man whom he had most vilely wronged!--and
    who had grown to exist only by this perpetual
    poison of the direst revenge! Yea, indeed!--he
    did not err!--there was a fiend at his elbow! A
    mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a
    fiend for his especial torment!" The unfortunate
    physician, while uttering these words, lifted his
    hands with a look of horror, as if he had beheld
    some frightful shape, which he could not
    recognize, usurping the place of his own image in
    a glass.

smile with a sinister meaning
31
How did his life affect the writing of the novel?
  • 2) Salem- childhood, later work at the Custom
    House, as Surveyor of the Port
  • The Custom House introduction creates a FRAME
    STORY
  • This introduction gives an account of his
    experience as surveyor he attacks the officials
    who connived in his dismissal Like his heroine
    Hester, Hawthorne emerges from confrontation with
    a self-righteous society as an individual of
    integrity,passion, and moral superiority.

32
SYMBOLISM
  • Symbolism is evident in the following objects in
    The Scarlet Letter.
  • What implications are made through the use of
    these symbols?

33
Symbols
  • Rose/rosebush
  • Letter A
  • Light/Dark
  • Pearl
  • The Leech
  • Others

34
LITERARY ELEMENT SYMBOLISM IN THE NOVEL
35
SYMBOLISM
  • The A!
  • It was so artistically done, and with so much
    fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that
    it had all the effect of a last and fitting
    decoration to the apparel which she wore and
    which was of a splendor in accordance with the
    taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was
    allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the
    colony.
  • Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but
    she has felt it in her heart.

36
(No Transcript)
37
SYMBOLISM
  • Hesters and Pearls Clothing
  • Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and
    the most sombre hue with only that one
    ornamentthe scarlet letterwhich it was her doom
    to wear.
  • The childs attire, on the other hand, was
    distinguished by a fanciful, or, we might rather
    say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed,
    to heighten the airy charm that early began to
    develop itself in the little girl

38
SYMBOLISM
  • PEARL (the name)
  • Her Pearl!For so had Hester called her not as
    a name expressive of her aspect, which had
    nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre
    that would be indicated by the comparison. But
    she named the infant Pearl, as being of great
    pricepurchased with all she hadher mothers
    only treasure!

39
SYMBOLISM
  • The Leech

He gathered herbs here and there
40
The Custom House General Info.
  • Custom House Government building where customs
    are collected and where ships are cleared to
    enter or leave county (by water)
  • Hawthorne worked there for 27 months 1847-49 as
    surveyor (pretty much everyone elses boss)
  • The Custom House is both factual and
    fictionalhe did work at one and tells stories of
    real people, but made up some of the stories,
    esp. the Letter A and Hester Prynne
  • The Custom House is intro. to Scarlet
    Letterincluded for and more text, but also to
    set up explanation why he wrote it (fictional)
    and themes of isolation, alienation, etc.

41
Custom House Picture
From first page of "The Custom-House" chapter in
the 1878 edition of The Scarlet Letter published
in 1878 by James R. Osgood and Co. in Boston.
42
The Custom House and The Scarlet Letter
  • The introductory chapter to The Scarlet Letter is
    called The Custom House.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne tells of his time as a clerk
    in the Salem, Mass. Government Custom House.
  • He claims to have found a letter written by
    Hester Prynne (the novels main character) and an
    embroidered scarlet A. The letter tells of
    Hesters experiences, which Hawthorne relates in
    the novel.
  • The novel is NOT based in historical fact, but
    Hawthorne uses The Custom House to give his
    story credibility.
  • Hawthornes family came from Boston. He was
    descendant of a judge in the Salem witch trials
    (named Hathorne). Hawthorne changed the spelling
    of his name to distance himself from his
    relatives unsavory reputation.
    http//www.hawthorneinsalem.org/LifeTimes/Biograp
    hicalInfo/Adultlife/MMD1114.html

43
THE END
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