Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter Puritanism/Scarlet Letter Timeline In History: 1620-1628 -Pilgrims/Puritans come to America -Harvard founded-religious 1638 higher education In the novel: 1642 -Ch. 1-4 public scaffold scene Pearl=baby in mother’s arms -Scene at Governor Bellingham’s Pearl=3 years old -Novel’s climax at scaffold Pearl=7 years old 1645 1649 1655 1692 -Christmas Celebration outlawed by Puritans -Salem Witch Trials: dissent, love 1850 triangles, landlust=breakdown of Puritan theocracy ; w/Judge John Hathorne -Last Chapter of novel (sort of) Hawthorne publishes Scarlet Letter (200 years later, during Romantic Era, so written in romantic style, but with Puritan influences and themes) 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 society—escape 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 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 Faun—travel log Pierce defeated; Lincoln=Civil War, H. out of place journals Our Old Home dies (of solitude, according to Emerson) Point of View • • • • • • • • • • • • Participant 1st person pronouns Narrator=character Innocent eye Stream of consciousness Life stages Immediacy/perception Approach another character Eye witness Summarize and mediate Trustworthy? Conclusions and opinions may be inaccurate Own mind only • • • • • • • • • • Non-participant 3rd person pronouns Omniscient enters minds of all characters Selective omniscient – one or a few characters Objective = camera or fly on a wall Describes characters thoughts, feelings, actions Close view to larger perspective Commentary Limited omniscient – distance from other characters, more unified Objective – not directly influenced by author’s statement Themes • • • • • • • Adultery Alienation Initiation Guilt Hypocrisy v. Integrity Fate v. Free Will Individual Rights v. Society • Use of Allegory • Moral Pride v. Intellect Symbols • Rose/rosebush • Letter A • Light/Dark • Others “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 else’s boss) • “The Custom House” is both factual and fictional—he 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 Letter— included for $ and more text, but also to set up explanation why he wrote it (fictional) and themes of isolation, alienation, etc. 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.