Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Scarlet Letter" 1850

meg.weal
Mind Map by , created over 6 years ago

Early American Literature 1820-1865 Mind Map on Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Scarlet Letter" 1850, created by meg.weal on 04/29/2013.

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meg.weal
Created by meg.weal over 6 years ago
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Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Scarlet Letter" 1850
1 An American Literature
1.1 form - novella/short story
1.1.1 character development of Hester makes the novella popular with female readers
1.1.1.1 suggests possibilities despite sins
1.1.1.2 relationship between Hester & Pearl
1.1.1.2.1 warm/motherly/unscathed/familial/sentimental/traditional
1.2 investigation in to how history has shaped American identity- tragic vision of the world
1.2.1 humanity cannot get any lower
1.3 Conservatism v. Democracy
1.3.1 Russell Kirk believed Hawthorne's Puritan portrayal was a way of impressing "the idea of sin upon a nation which would like to forget it"
1.3.1.1 Conservative achievment
1.3.2 Transcendentalists believed in focussing on the future as opposed to relying on the psat
1.3.2.1 Emerson
1.3.2.1.1 "Our age is retrospective" - Nature
1.3.2.1.2 "Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this."
1.3.2.1.2.1 - The American Scholar
1.3.2.2 Dimmesdale characterises democratic views
1.3.2.2.1 His decay comes from the search for spiritual perfection.
1.3.2.2.1.1 critique of transcendentalists
1.3.2.2.1.2 only saved by Pearl's kiss at the end of novel & when the truth is revealed
1.3.3 Narrator tells novella in past tense
1.4 Social Judgments
1.4.1 Transformation of Scarlet Letter from a symbol of shame to a symbol of power/reverence
1.4.1.1 Sin & shame allow Hester & DImmesdale to consider the human condition and other's situations
1.4.1.1.1 "sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind, so that his heart vibrates in union with theirs"
1.4.1.2 "Throughout them all, giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which
1.4.1.2.1 they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion. Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the
1.4.1.2.1.1 scarlet letter flaming on her breast"
1.4.1.2.2 Hester is no longer an individual - a symbol of "women's fragility and sinful passion"
1.4.1.3 "Heaven would show mercy," rejoined Hester, "hadst thou but the strength to take advantage of it."
1.4.1.3.1 contradicts & challenges the Puritan views of pre-destination & innate depravity
1.4.1.3.1.1 changing the perception of her & her fate
2 Religion in C19th America
2.1 Pre-destination
2.1.1 the idea that your afterlife has already been planned
2.1.1.1 resulted in a very paranoid society of Puritans - no way of determining who was good/bad
2.1.1.2 thought that Earth and life were a horrible trial to test your soul
2.1.1.2.1 lead to over-reading/mis-reading of symbols in Puritan society eg. Scarlet Letter
2.2 innate depravity
2.2.1 Perceptiveness of Peal
2.2.1.1 "“the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. . . . It will not flee from me, for
2.2.1.1.1 I wear nothing on my bosom yet!"
2.2.1.2 links to the Puritan belief that since Adam's fall from Grace all children are born innately evil
2.2.1.2.1 also seen in Poe
2.2.1.3 understands things which she shouldn't
2.2.2 contrasts with Transcendentalist movement
2.2.2.1 children are the enablers and the innocence of America
2.2.2.1.1 A teacher does not teach but enables the child's mind to learn
2.2.2.2 God makes men innately good - it is society which corrupts them
2.2.2.2.1 Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government"/Emerson's "Nature"
2.3 Wilderness v. Civilisation
2.3.1 “was that the same minister that kissed me by the brook?”...“We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.”
2.3.1.1 Hester & Dimmesdale's metting in the woods allows the truth to avail & leads to momentary happiness
2.3.2 2 different interpretations of wilderness in C19th America
2.3.2.1 Wilderness/Nature as close to God
2.3.2.2 Wilderness as dangerous/untamed/unsafe
2.3.3 lack of rules and judgments in wilderness
2.3.3.1
2.3.4 Hester's cottage is on the outskirts of town & woods - is between belonging somewhere - not in total freedom but not as confined by social rules

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