Puritan culture by Nathaniel Hawthorn

A society or group is traditionally governed by a collection of cultural, metaphysical, and religious principles. The spiritual element allows members of the society to distinguish between what is wrong and what is good. A society’s structure is often focused on judgmental values that are codified by tradition in order to govern the actions of group members. The relationship between Nathaniel Hawthorn and his Puritan ancestors inspired the writer to write stories that exposed their cultural flaws and strengths (Dekker 47). Hester is condemned in the story for her sinful conduct and adultery. Contrary to her society, Puritans were so religious and believed in the sovereignty and righteousness of God. God was seen as omniscient and omnipotent thus making the Puritans to follow the teachings of Peter Ramus. There is lots of hypocrisy in the stories among the characters and Nathaniel was not comfortable with hypocrisy exercised among the people (Millington and Richard 76). The values of a community are vital and enable people to live in harmony with others. However, some culture and religion affect the moral behavior of community members.

The Scarlet Letters shows the attitude of the writer towards believes and culture of the Puritans. Hawthorne’s did not agree with the Puritan religion as seen in the Scarlet letter. The Puritan religion was full of evil, and they could not see the reality but instead showed hatred towards Hester for being immoral. Women were disrespected and treated with biases. There was no equality, and the Puritans had substantial degrees concerning beliefs, religion and family structure. Women were not allowed to participate in decision-making matters but instead were seen as sex workers and house helps. The punishment towards women for committing adultery was so cruel and unjust (Boonyaprasop and Hawthorne 124).

Nathaniel Hawthorn wrote many short stories such as “Young Goodman Brown,” The Ambitious Guest, The Birth-Mark, Rappaccini’s Daughter, Ethan Brand and the Scarlet Letters among others. His depiction of Puritan culture is seen in his short stories such as Romantic Movement where he mentioned the dark romanticism. Nathaniel writings had moral messages condemned immorality in the society. In his book of dark romanticism, Nathaniel showed his psychological complexity by depicting guilt, sinful action, and evil as inherent qualities of human beings that lead to destruction (Higgins, Lesley and Radical 26). Hawthorne’s short story of “Young Goodman” was based on Puritan religion. The Puritans made the church a political and social center for the entire community members where every villager was required to attend a church service. According to Hawthorns, the Puritans were hiding in the church and doing contrary things according to the books of the Bible. The Puritans also believed in Satan and had a great belief that Satan dominated the earth. The Puritans also believed in the evil spirits and witches (Dekker 78).

Hawthorne had a unique perception towards the Puritan notion of the wilderness, science, government, sin, women, violence and body language among others. Nathaniel wrote the Scarlet Letter attacks the Puritan’s region and behavior by exposing their immoral activities and pretense. The writer contrasted the Puritans and their romantic behavior to religion in the 16th century. However, Nathaniel could not see the ignorance of his great ancestors despite his critics (Duperray, Harding and Nathaniel Hawthorne 105). Nathaniel did not follow the ideology and philosophy of the Puritans but instead decided to live in harmony with nature. To his understanding, Nathaniel read the history of his ancestors and related the scenarios to the lives of the Puritans; he believed that the Puritan’s injustice was related to the God whom he thought may be vengeful and cruel. He saw Puritanism as evil and full of hypocrisy thus criticizing the Puritans beliefs and philosophies (Meltzer, Milton and Nathaniel 59).

Nathaniel was born to a Puritan belief family but grew up differently opposing the Puritanism and seeing the religion as intolerant and cruel. Hawthorne’s traced the cruelty of the Puritans from his ancestors who migrated from the US between 19030 and 1933. He distanced himself from Puritanism after realizing how his ancestors persecuted the Quarkers and sentencing them to death. The Puritans beliefs towards women were cruel as some women were punished to death for their mistakes while men were given less severe punishments. Hester Prynne was so guilty of her sin of adultery and hypocrisy. Hester’s husband mistreated her and was so vengeful (Duperray, Harding and Nathaniel Hawthorne 105).

The Scarlet Letter is full of hypocrisy and how the Puritans believed in the bible but were doing the opposite. The bible advocates for love, forgiveness, and toleration but the Puritans were not practicing the scripture. The punishment methods executed the Puritans were so cruel and unacceptable to all Christians. Hypocrisy was also when some housewives were gossiping and talking about Hester’s punishment (Hawthorne and Arvin 19). Nathaniel saw religion as a form of hypocrisy and Christians were doing the opposite to the bible. The Puritans exposed the sins of Hester Prynne and allowed Dimmesdale to suffer so much after being condemned by the Puritans. Dimmesdale and Esther showed how adultery was practiced in the land of Puritans despite their dedication to religion(Duperray, Harding and Nathaniel Hawthorne 118).

Nathaniel believed that the Puritans were so hypocritical based on the judgments and doing things contrary to their religions. Puritans beliefs contributed towards much mischievous behavior in the society. Hawthorne condemns the judgmental acts by the Puritans towards those committing crime (Hawthorne and Arvin 24). Hester’s sin was seen as a severe issue warranting to death, and the whole community mocked her instead of listening to her side as well. Her husband was ruthless and did not play his role as a man in the house allowing Hester’s to continue falling in love with another man. The Puritans did not take into consideration the feelings of Esther and listening to her side of the story. The city had a cemetery and jail at the entrance making the judges to make verdict without considering the consequences. The victims were not given a chance to express themselves or give the reason as to why they committed creation crime (Hawthorne and Arvin 34).

The Puritans did not condemn individuals who did not believe in the region and beliefs. Hawthorne asserted that Puritans had a strong conviction on those that do not believe in the culture of the Puritans. The rebellions were considered sinners and assured of burning in the hell for failing to accept the religion and culture of the Puritans. Besides, the hypocrisy is seen in the leaders (Hawthorne 73). The Puritan’s leaders like Dimmesdale are seen committing adultery yet he was a much-respected minister in Puritan. The Puritan leader committed adultery with Hester and confessed his sins before the congregation leaving them in disbelief. The act by Dimmesdale indicated great hypocrisy in the church and religion was seen as a hiding place where people camouflage and commit sinful acts. Hawthorne wrote the Scarlet Letter to show the readers how Puritans were pretenders and hypocrites. The culture of Puritans and religion is seen as disasters and the primary cause of the problems of the community members. Puritans were so immoral and corrupt making people like Hester turn away from her community after being exposed negatively. There was no fairness and women were extremely punished as compared to me for committing adultery.

Nathaniel Hawthorn depicted Puritans as the people of the Bible who believed that the Bible is the only book that reveals the word of God. Puritans used the bible as a guide to their religion, governments, and businesses. They have ascertained that the bible was the only book which could give the people rules for aspects of life. The Puritans addressed each other as brothers and sisters (Hawthorne 73). They could listen to sermons together share biblical messages. According to Nathaniel, the unity of the Puritans brought unity and cohesion among the people. However, the community members were full of pretenses as they could not practice whatever the bible was saying. Puritans had a strong ideal and believed that lack of punishment to a member could bring bad omen to the whole society. The Puritan belief of punishment was vital, and they had a strong ideology on punishment by expressing the disapproval of sin by God to save them from His wrath. The Puritans study the scripture of God very well believing in the laws of the old treatment based on exhortation and punishment (Hawthorne 73).

According to Nathaniel, Puritans did not have feelings for humanity and could not believe that human beings could sin against the laws of the community. Puritans could not understand the failing and falling in human beings and were so much attached to religion. Besides, Nathaniel also depicts the act of punishment as a malicious joy to the people who showed the lack of sympathy for their fellow brothers and sisters. The punishment of sinners was seen as a shield from the wrath of God (Hart, James and Phillip 29).

The Puritans did not believe that human beings could be disobedient to God or the community. The Puritans had a perception that moral, social behavior was received through salvation. The salvation was seen as a covenant between God and human beings. Absolute obedience could not lead to sin or fall of man. Puritanism did not believe in equality, and God applied different principles to individual people. Husbands and men were more superior to their wives and women. There were exclusivity and women were despised by the society. Puritan ministers were highly respected and adored by the community members. They were given high position in the community and were regarded as the most Sabbath observance (Millington and Richard 21).

Lastly, Nathaniel Depicted Puritanism as believers who were hypocrites and believed in both God and Satan. The belief in Satan and witchcraft was a sign of pretense as the influence of the witchcraft could be felt in the community. The Puritans beliefs on the existence of God and Satan had adverse consequences to the community. The people practiced witchcraft and still believed in the Christian ideology. According to Nathaniel, human beings are weak and are susceptible to sin. His perception of romance is different and unique based on the facts. Nathaniel showed disagreement with Puritan religion and culture especially when the whole community was against Hester Prynne. Nathaniel showed some compassion towards Hester and Prynne. He was disgusted by the Puritan religion and culture in his book Scarlet Letters. In his short story book titled “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne is affected by the Anglicanism and reforms experienced through Puritanism. His great concern comes when he remembers the history of his ancestors. Nathaniel ancestors were the Puritan region, and there was a big impact including sentencing people to death and killing the sinners (Hawthorne and Baym 202). Many people lost their lives due to strict laws implemented by the Puritans based on religion and culture.

In conclusion, Nathaniel Hawthorne had a negative attitude towards Puritanism. He believed that there was hypocrisy and God was being taken for granted. According to Nathaniel, immorality rate was high in Puritan people despite their attachment to God. The people believed so much in the Sabbath and forgot about moral values. The Puritanism practice was not meant to bring development to the people but to suppress their freedoms. Women were not respected in the society and were being given extreme punishment compared to the counterparts. The immorality of the land and other sinful acts was common, and people believed in punishing the wrong doers. There was no integrity and respect for all human beings in the Puritan. The leaders of the church were also involved in adultery and other sins. Puritanism ideology and philosophy was based on religion.

Works Cited

Boonyaprasop, M. Hawthorne’s wilderness: Nature and Puritanism in Hawthorne’s the Scarlet letter and “Young Goodman Brown”. Hamburg, 2013. Anchor Academic Pub.

Dekker, G. The American historical romance and Puritanism. Cambridge, 2013 Cambridge University Press.

Duperray, A., & Harding, A. Nathaniel Hawthorne: La fonction éthique de l’oeuvre. Paris, 2006. Publibook.

Hart, James D, and Phillip W. Leininger. The Oxford Companion to American Literature. New York u.a: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005. Internet resource.

Hawthorne, E. M., & De, R. C. A. Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne: A life in letters. Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press, 2006. Oxford Press

Hawthorne, N., & Baym, N. The scarlet letter: A romance. New York, NY [u.a.: Penguin Alvis, John. Nathaniel Hawthorne As Political Philosopher: Revolutionary Principles Domesticated and Personalized. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.Books.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Newton Arvin. Hawthorne’s Short Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 2011. Print.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown, and Other Short Stories. New York: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.

Higgins, Lesley H. Radical Puritarism and Jews in England 1648-1672. London: Ann Arbor, 2012. Print.

Meltzer, Milton. Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography. Minneapolis, Minn: Twenty-First Century Books, 2007. Print.

Millington, Richard H. The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 10%
Total Price:
$10.99 $35.97
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price