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English Literature is rich in profound and gripping works created in different historical epochs. Some of these works should be scrupulously analyzed to be understood in their full complexity. The Scarlet Letter created by N. Hawthorne long ago describes the period even more remote and lost in time. However, scarlet letter quotes explained today by our literary experts tell us a lot about social and cultural norms of the first Puritan settlements and about similarity of hard choices made and consequences faced by people across countries and centuries. We present you an excerpt taken from the analysis performed by our writers.
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“A writer [of entertaining books]! What kind of a business in life ... may that be?” (Hawthorne) The very opening of the book looks like a decorative frame preparing readers to plunge into the old-fashioned culture of Puritan era. However, the introduction outlines actually the central conflict of the whole story. The author, whose ancestors were the Puritans who founded Massachusetts, evaluates his intention to write a ‘story book’, and from the Puritan point of view it seems perfectly useless. Meanwhile, the Hester Prynne's life story is too valuable to the author because of similarity of choices faced in life. The author all the more wants to write the book because the personal rebellion of Hester against the Puritan social rules reflects his own protest against the possible disapproval and contempt towards his creative activities. Both the author and Hester dare to question the established norms and to take the desired route in life despite the possible punishment.
Chapter XVIII. “But Hester Prynne, ... for so long a period ... outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such [extraordinary] latitude of speculation... ." (Hawthorne) One more paradox of the narration is that punishment imposed on Hester did nothing to make her complacent and obedient; instead it encouraged her to lead free thinking activity and to take philosophical attitude to life. Such moral frivolity was hardly acceptable even in respectable male members of the Puritan society that relied heavily on religious guidance and rules. It was totally unthinkable for a sinful woman. However, Hester’s solitude and lack of close links within the society made her rely more on her reasoning and intellectual achievements than to follow blindly the commonly accepted path. Potential punishment was real freedom, after all.
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