A literary analysis of religion in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Throughout his life, Hawthorne was both fascinated and disturbed by his kinship with John Hathorne. Raised by a widowed mother, Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College in Maine, where he met two people who were to have great impact upon his life: Henry Wadsworth Long-fellow, who would later become a famous poet, and Franklin Pierce, who would later become president of the United States. After college Hawthorne tried his hand at writing, producing historical sketches and an anonymous novel, Fanshawe, that detailed his college days rather embarrassingly.

A literary analysis of religion in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Leaving Salem village, he promises his wife, Faith, that he will return after this single night. Criticizing her for doubting his purposes, Brown nevertheless seems conscience-stricken about his own motivations.

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He vows to be true to Faith and to their religious faith—after this one night. His wife can only hope that this experience, whatever it is, will not change their lives for the worse.

Soon after he walks into the darkening forest, Brown expresses fear that in the gloomy wilderness he could easily be ambushed by the devil himself. This man uses a crooked walking stick that resembles a serpent—from a distance and in the dim light it even seems to wiggle.

A literary analysis of religion in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Asked by the man why he is late for his appointment, Brown responds that Faith had delayed him. As the two walk and talk, Brown periodically voices his apprehension and says he must return to Salem and Faith. She reveals her diabolical deeds as the two chat. Brown congratulates himself with the thought that, however evil Goody Cloyse proves to be, he will return to Salem with a clear conscience to talk of religious truths with the minister and Deacon Gookin.

Brown then overhears the minister and the deacon discuss an unholy congregation and new converts. Apparent evidence mounts that, indeed, the devil is intimate with even moral and religious New Englanders. Brown is especially troubled by the indiscriminate mingling of the godly and the ungodly.

However, he remains defiant and maintains that he still has Faith, whereupon the pink ribbons of his wife flutter down from the sky.

As if struck by a blow, at this instant Brown is overwhelmed by disillusionment: Even his Faith has gone the way of Satan. Despairing and hysterical, he now believes that there is no goodness and the world is wholly evil. Brown is led to a clearing in the forest where pine trees blaze like gigantic candles above an altar made of stone.

A literary analysis of religion in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

Brown and Faith stand as converts, soon to be initiated into this bizarre congregation and the belief that evil is the sole and essential nature of humankind.

The devil dips his hand into water that looks like blood, reaching forth to initiate the young couple with the mark of this perverse baptism. In a final impulse of virtue Brown tells Faith to resist Satan. Then there is nothing—no blazing trees, no baptismal blood, no ominously chanting congregation.

Brown finds himself alone in the dark, damp, and cool forest. Disoriented, he slowly wanders back to Salem at sunrise. Was this episode in the woods real, or was it merely a dream? Back in Salem, he is ever after a moody and depressed man, distrustful and incapable of joy.

All he sees is the evil that has been revealed to him; all he perceives, therefore, is human hypocrisy. He cannot endure listening to preaching and prayers and hymn singing; he snatches a child away from Goody Cloyse as she instructs the girl about religious truths.

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Villagers cannot understand Brown and his strange and inexplicable transformation. After a long and lonely life, he dies despairing and joyless.A summary of Chapters 3–4 in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. These are some of the many databases available to you as a member of Middletown Thrall Library: Artemis (now Gale Literary Sources) Searches the following databases (described below): Literature Criticism Online, Literature for Students, Literature Resource Center, and Something about the Author.

Definitions of "Fantasy" And what do we even mean by "Fantasy" anyway? First of all, we distinguish between "Science Fiction" and "Fantasy" in that "Science Fiction", as defined elsewhere in this page (DEFINITIONS: what is science fiction?) involves strangeness extrapolated from science and technology, rather than contrary to natural law.

"The Birth-Mark" is a short story by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The tale examines obsession with human perfection. It was first published in the March edition of The Pioneer and later appeared in Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of Hawthorne's short stories published in Other essays and articles in the Literature Archives related to this topic include: Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Overview of the Author and Thematic Analysis of Works • Full Summary and Analysis of “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne • Analysis and Plot Summary of “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne • Full Plot Summary and Analysis .

These are some of the many databases available to you as a member of Middletown Thrall Library: Artemis (now Gale Literary Sources) Searches the following databases (described below): Literature Criticism Online, Literature for Students, Literature Resource Center, and Something about the Author.

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