An Analysis Of Puritanistic Values In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

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My huge thanks goes to Heavenly Father the owner of my life. Thank you Jesus Christ for blessings and salvation that you have given to me. You are my savior, my redeemer and thanks for all you’ve done in my life. Praise The Lord.

My gratitude goes to the Dean of Faculty of Letters North Sumatra University, Drs. Syariffudin, M. A, PhD, and all of the assistants and administrators. The Chief and Secretary of English Department, Dra. Swesana Mardia Lubis, M. Hum and Drs. Yulianus Harefa M.Ed. TESOL.

I also would like to convey my deep thanks and appreciation to Drs. Razali Kasim, M.A as my supervisor and Drs. Parlindungan Purba, M. HUM as my co- supervisor who had spent their precious time, giving constructive comments and correction during writing this thesis. At the moment I also thank to all my lectures in English Department who have taught me lessons so long I can get good knowledge.

My precious thanks goes to my beloved late father, St. S. Sinaga and my mother F. Situmorang. Thanks for your pure love that I feel in my life. I truly appreciate the spirit for struggling much to support my daily life and my study. Especially to my mother.’ Mom I love you so much, you are great mom and the inspiration in my life. And to my brothers and sister ( Erikson, Suharman,and Icce) I really love you all.


Jelita, Shera, Dodek, Lely, Lilis, Hotma, Grace,Fera, Refy, Dhevi, Marline, Taruli.) come all servants be committed to Him. My special thanks to, K’Eva metika, thanks for your support, Anthoni, Nelli, Evilina “my appiri”, Ida Solva thanks for being my friend!

My hope is that this thesis will be useful for every reader. I would appreciatively accept every critic and suggestion for the improvement of this thesis.

Medan, Maret 2008

The writer



Skiripsi ini membahas salah satu karya Nathaniel Hawthorne yang menjadi masterpiece dalam kesusasteraan Amerika yaitu The Scarlet Letter. Dalam novel klasik ini, bertutur tentang seorang wanita yang menjadi korban kejamnya sanksi sosial dalam struktur masyarakat Puritan.

Hester Prynne adalah seorang tokoh utama dalam novel ini yang telah melanggar salah satu hukum taurat yaitu berzinah. Hester Prynne harus menjalani hukumannya dengan memakaikan huruf “A” di bajunya yang menjadi simbol pelanggarannya dan dia juga dikucilkan dalam masyarakat.

Dalam skripsi ini penulis menganalisis tentang nilai moral masyarakat puritan dari sisi negatif yang ditemukan di novel ini yaitu kekejaman, kemunafikan, serta tidak adanya sikap toleransi terhadap sesama. Ketiga nilai moral ini sangat jelas dalam novel The Scarlet Letter.








1.1 Background of Analysis 1

1.2 Statement of Problem 4

1.3 Objective of Analysis 4

1.4 Scope of Analysis 4

1.5 Theoretical Approach 5

1.6 Method of Study 6

1.7 Review of Related literature 6



2.1 A Brief View on Puritanism 8

2.2 Characteristics of Puritanism Concepts 14

2.3 Facts of Puritanism 17



3.1 Intolerance 21

3.2 Cruelty 32



4.1 Conclusion 43

4.2 Suggestion 44







Skiripsi ini membahas salah satu karya Nathaniel Hawthorne yang menjadi masterpiece dalam kesusasteraan Amerika yaitu The Scarlet Letter. Dalam novel klasik ini, bertutur tentang seorang wanita yang menjadi korban kejamnya sanksi sosial dalam struktur masyarakat Puritan.

Hester Prynne adalah seorang tokoh utama dalam novel ini yang telah melanggar salah satu hukum taurat yaitu berzinah. Hester Prynne harus menjalani hukumannya dengan memakaikan huruf “A” di bajunya yang menjadi simbol pelanggarannya dan dia juga dikucilkan dalam masyarakat.

Dalam skripsi ini penulis menganalisis tentang nilai moral masyarakat puritan dari sisi negatif yang ditemukan di novel ini yaitu kekejaman, kemunafikan, serta tidak adanya sikap toleransi terhadap sesama. Ketiga nilai moral ini sangat jelas dalam novel The Scarlet Letter.




1.1Background of analysis

Literature may be described as the record in words of what people have thought and felt from ancient to present day more exactly. Literature is good writing that helps us understand that human being in all times and places have much in common. Some literature belongs to what scholars call the oral tradition. This includes folk tales, ballads, nursery, rhymes which were passed by word of mouth from one generation to the next. But most literature comes to us in written from manuscript scrolls, and printed pages.

Literature is divided into two abroad classes, fiction and non fiction. Fiction is something that the writer invents or images. it aims to stir our feelings and imaginations by describing moods of joy or sadness, by telling us exciting stories, and by introducing us to characters whose emotion we may all understand and share. Fiction can be in verse or prose in the form of play or poem, a novel, or a short story.

And as the object of this thesis is a novel. A novel is a long story, often with many characters and involved plot. One of the world famous novel is The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) is regarded as the supreme masterpieces of American literature. Some of literary critics or scholars claims that The Scarlet Letter is an ironical novel which was criticized The Puritan in New England.


husband, Roger Chillingworth did no die and appears during the early stages of Hester’s punishment

In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, a sinner, is mistreated by the Puritan society. Hester Prynne is publicly humiliated as a punishment for her transgression against one of the Ten Commandments, adultery. Hester is forced to stand in front of the town on scaffold which symbolizes “The Day of Judgment” for three hours as the crowd tries to bread her down with criticism and shaming words.

Society often criticizes, punishes, and/or despises people who dare to be different. Hawthorne exposed and rejected the illusions and self-deceptions of his ancestor’s culture, especially after he discovered one of his forefathers was judge, Hawthorne, who presided over the Salem witchcraft trials in 1962. Puritan society had significant influence on Hawthorne’s writing, especially in The Scarlet Letter: “Puritan society claimed to have based itself on the highest principal of moral idealism…and filled with Christian virtues of love and compassion”(Harold 1983: 123). However in his writings, Hawthorne presents Puritan society as hypocritical. Hawthorne describes the inhumanity and intolerance that the Puritan society had set in date, especially for sinners.


In Swardi Endraswara’s book “ Metodologi Penelitian Sastra” he states,

Pada prinsipnya, menurut Laurenson dan swingewood (1971) terdapat tiga perspective berkaitan dangan sosiologi sastra yaitu.’ According to Laurenson and Swingedwood( 1971) there are three perspectives which are related to sociological literature”.

1. penelitian yang memandang karya satra sebagai dokumen sosial yang di dalamnya merupkan refleksi situasi pada masa sastra tersebut diciptakan.’ Literary research as a social document of the writer which is the reflection of literary works at the time it was being written’

2. Penelitian yang mengungkapkan sastra sebagai cermin situasi sosial penulisnya. ’A literary research as a mirror of the social condition and social culture of the writer’. 3. Penelitian yang menangkap sastra sebagai manifestasi peritiwa sejarah dan keadaan

sosial budaya.’ A literary works as a manifestation of history and the social cultural condition’.

From the explanation above, we can conclude that literary works, has a close relation with society where, a literary works may represent the social condition of the society at the time literary woks being written. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s view first American ancestors as belonging to a grim and gloomy race, impatient with human weaknesses. Hawthorne frankly confesses to his own family descent from one of the “hanging judges” of the Salem witchcraft trials, and he did not spare any instance of persecution, obsession or cruelty regarding the community led by his paternal ancestors


Fundamentally, all these become the reason for the writer of this thesis for choosing this novel as the object of analysis, because the writer feels interested to analyzed the puritan’s values from their behaviors ( Intolerance, Cruelty, Hypocrisy,)

1.2Statement of problem

The problem to be analyzed from the Puritan’s values as reflected in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as follows:

What makes the Puritans declined to behave Intolerance, Cruel, Hypocrite as reflected in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

1.3Objective of Analysis

In making analysis, there are certain objectives which are important to achieve objective of writing of this thesis is to analyze and to reveal The Puritan’s values, what makes them tend to behave Intolerance, Cruelty, Hypocrisy, as can be seen in The Scarlet Letter.

1.4 Scope of Analysis


1.5Theoretical Approach

According to Rene Wellek and Austin Warren in their books Theory of Literature, there are two approach to analyze the literary works, they are Intrinsic approach and Extrinsic approach. Intrinsic approach is a kind of approach which analyze literary works based on the text and the structural points of literary. It discuss the characters, plot, setting, style, and the other elements of literary works and its connection with other knowledge and external factors such as biography, history, society, religion, psychology, etc.

In doing this thesis, the writer uses extrinsic approach by connecting the story with the society because the writer in this thesis discusses the society ( the Puritan society). Therefore, the writer using Rene Wellek and Austin Warren’s theory it is sociological approach in order to better understanding the analysis.


1.6. Method of Study

This thesis is being done by using library research, the writer uses books and many other resources as references related to the subject matter being analyzed. The writer also browsed an internet to get more information all about puritan society. The writer follows the procedures as follows:

1. Data collecting procedure

The first step is, the writer collects and underlines the important things from the novel such as the interaction of the characters with the society. The writer do same thing with the related books and references then mark the important information from those resources which has parallel analogies with the novel.

2. Data selecting procedure

The second step is data selecting. All the information that the writer has collected are being selected only the very significant data used in the process of doing this thesis.

3. Data analyzing procedure

The last step is data analyzing. All the selected data are being analyzed to achieve what has been planned in the objective of this thesis and finally a conclusion can be drawn from this thesis.

1.7Review to Related Literature

There are several books which related to the topic in analyzing the subject matter. The major books are:


Nathaniel Hawthorne. From this book the writer found all about Nathaniel Hawthorne. ( his life, family, and his works)

2. The American Dream by Jim Cullen (2003)

This book was published by Oxford University in New York. Many information that the writer gets from this book, because this book tells about perceptions towards The puritans. Many quotations that the writer gets from this book. At the first time reading Jim Cullen’s book, the writer feels interested with his idea because he proposed his idea towards the Puritans and sometimes, he puts his idea and criticized the Puritans. This sources helps the writer in analyzing the novel.

3. The American Puritans: Their prose and their poetry by Perry Miller( 1956) this book was published by Achor books Dobleday and company, inc Garden city, in New York. This book describes about the historical background in America. This book also consist about the Puritans concepts that the writer finds it in their prose and poetry.




2.1 A Brief View on Puritanism

As in the reformation occured, Henry VIII establishes the Church of England (1533). He developed a church that for the most part different title from the Roman Catholic Church. Some reformers thought Henry VIII had not gone for enough. The continental protestant reformers Marthin Luther ( 1483- 1546) a German monk, and John Calvin (1509- 1564) a French cleric and lawyer who settled in Geneva, argued for less ritual and more individual interpretation of the bible. Following Calvin, English protestants many of whom studied with Calvin in Geneva, sough greater change in the English church. Some like the Congregationalists, argued that the Anglican Church could be purified from within the Church structure, some like the separatists, considered the church so corrupt that it was not salvageable. In 1608 a group of puritan separatists, attempting to escape religious persecution, fled England for the Netherlands. The separatist ( whom William Bradford called the pilgrim) remained there until 1620, but fearing that they were logging their cultural identity. They decided to settled in Delaware in the New world.


Richard Mather and John Cotton provided clerical leadership in the Puritan colony planted on Massachusetts Bay. Thomas Hooker was an example of those who settled new areas farther west according to traditional Puritan standards. Even tough he broke with the authorities of the Massachusetts colony over question of religious freedom, Roger Williams was also a true Puritan in his zeal for personal godliness and doctrinal correctness. Most of these men held ideas in the mainstream of Calvinistic thought. In addition to believing in the absolute sovereignty of God, the total depravity of man, and the complete dependence of human beings on divine grace for salvation, they stressed the importance of personal religious experience. These Puritans insisted that they, as God’s elect, had duty to direct national affairs according to God’s will as revealed in the bible. This union of church and state to form a holy commonwealth gave Puritanism direct and exclusive control over most colonial activity until commercial and political changes forced them to relinquish it at the 17th century.

Their isolation in the new world, their introversion, the harness and dangers of their new existence, their sense that they were a new chosen people of God destined to found a New Jerusalem a new city of God in the midst of the world remain more severe land, frequently more intellectually subtle and rigors than that which they had left behind The American Puritan tended to interpret the Bible which had supreme literary value because it was the perfect word of God.


throughout the previous 1500 years. Theirs was an attempt to "purify" the church and their own lives.

What many of us remember about the Puritans is reflective of the modern definition of the term and not of the historical account. Point one, they were not a small group of people. In England many of their persuasion sat in Parliament. So great was the struggle that England's Civil War pitted the Puritans against the Crown Forces. Though the Puritans won the fight with Oliver Cromwell's leadership, their victory was short-lived; hence their displacement to America. Point two, the witchcraft trials did not appropriately define their methods of living for the 100+ years that they formed successful communities. What it did show was the danger that their self-imposed isolation had put them in.

Most of the Puritans settled in the New England area. As they immigrated and formed individual colonies, their numbers rose from 17,800 in 1640 to 106,000 in 1700. Religious exclusiveness was the foremost principle of their society. The spiritual beliefs that they held were strong. This strength held over to include community laws and customs. Since God was at the forefront of their minds, He was to motivate all of their actions. This premise worked both for them and against them.


Each church congregation was to be individually responsible to God, as was each person. The New Testament was their model and their devotion so great that it permeated their entire society. People of opposing theological views were asked to leave the community or to be converted.

Their interpretation of scriptures was a harsh one. They emphasized a redemptive piety. In principle, they emphasized conversion and not repression. Conversion was a rejection of the "worldliness" of society and a strict adherence to Biblical principles. While repression was not encouraged in principle, it was evident in their actions. God could forgive anything, but man could forgive only by seeing a change in behavior. Actions spoke louder than words, so actions had to be constantly controlled.

The doctrine of predestination kept all Puritans constantly working to do good in this life to be chosen for the next eternal one. God had already chosen who would be in heaven or hell, and each believer had no way of knowing which group they were in. Those who were wealthy were obviously blessed by God and were in good standing with Him. The Protestant work ethic was the belief that hard work was an honor to God which would lead to a prosperous reward. Any deviations from the normal way of Puritan life met with strict disapproval and discipline. Since the church elders were also political leaders, any church infraction was also a social one. There was no margin for error.


mouths of eloquent ministers as they warned of the persuasiveness of the devil's power. The sermons of Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan minister, show that delivery of these sermons became an art form. They were elegant, well formed, exegetical renditions of scriptures... with a healthy dose of fear woven throughout the fabric of the literary construction. Grammar children were quizzed on the material at school and at home. This constant subjection of the probability of an unseen danger led to a scandal of epidemic proportions.

Great pains were taken to warn their members and especially their children of the dangers of the world. Religiously motivated, they were exceptional in their time for their interest in the education of their children. Reading of the Bible was necessary to living a pious life. The education of the next generation was important to further "purify" the church and perfect social living.

Three English diversions were banned in their New England colonies; drama, religious music and erotic poetry. The first and last of these led to immorality. Music in worship created a "dreamy" state which was not conducive in listening to God. Since the people were not spending their time idly indulged in trivialities, they were left with two godly diversions.


For the first time in history, free schooling was offered for all children. Puritans formed the first formal school in 1635, called the Roxbury Latin School. Four years later, the first American College was established; Harvard in Cambridge. Children aged 6-8 attended a "Dame school" where the teacher, who was usually a widow, taught reading. "Ciphering" (math) and writing were low on the academic agenda.

In 1638, the first printing press arrived. By 1700, Boston became the second largest publishing center of the English Empire. The Puritans were the first to write books for children, and to discuss the difficulties in communicating with them. At a time when other Americans were physically blazing trails through the forests, the Puritans efforts in areas of study were advancing our country intellectually.

Religion provided a stimulus and prelude for scientific thought. Of those Americans who were admitted into the scientific "Royal Society of London," the vast majority were New England Puritans.


2.2 Characteristics of Puritanism Concepts

Discussing about puritan values, it can not separate from the Puritans concepts. Because this concepts will give us understanding puritan society. There are four Puritan concepts. Antinominanism, Arminianism, Jeremiad, The Elect.

Firstly, Antinominanism derives from Greek; anti nomos “ against the law “ one of the major heresies that threatened 17th century Calvinism in the Massachusset Bay. Even antinomian thinkers like Anne Hutchinson believed that God pre-destined some persons to be His “elect” and left the rest to eternal damnation. Unlike other Puritans, however, they also held that the Holy spirit dwells within God’s Elect that relationship between God and persons is an entirely private matter, Antinomian thought thus threatened the social organization of the puritan community, which rested on each person’s need to find God in private, but in public demonstration of their place in a society of chosen people organized and rolled by men of God


The Great Remonstrance published in 1610 by the Arminian clergy codified Arminius's beliefs into five major points:

1.Rejection of the doctrine of election 2.Rejection of predestination

3.Rejection of the belief that Christ died for the elect alone 4.Rejection of the belief in irresistible grace

5.Assertion of the belief that saints could fall from grace.

In 1618, at the Synod of Dort (Dordrecht), these tenets were declared heretical, and orthodo (Remonstrants) were arrested on charges of treason and given the choice of recantation or exile, although some later returned to Holland.

As Perry Miller comments in The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century,

"Arminianism was heresy [to the Puritans], not because it tried to make God just, but because it secured His justice at the expense of His essential power, forcing Him to solicit the help of man, holding Him powerless to change a man who chooses to be evil. It was wrong to say that God expects anything from man in the sense of leaving any decree uncertain or dependent upon man's doing, as though God has to wait before He can tell whether the creature will fulfill the expectation, but it was correct to say that in the Covenant He expects a return from those whom he foreknows will give it" ( Miller 1939: 404)


people, punishment were not condemnatory, but corrective. Most typically the argument of political sermons, this concepts of the Jeremiad can be found in almost any expression of Puritan though from sacred history to popular poetry. Generally, the argument is divided into:

1. A statement of God’s word, promise, and strength as evidence in scripture 2. A depiction of evil, weakness, and apostasy in the community as it exists along

with evidence of God’s punishments

3. Assurance of the promise of salvation through endurance of God’s sentence and a return to His word and ways.

And the last is, The Elect. According to Calvin, those predestined by God to be saved. They are also referred to as ‘ saints’ although Calvin’s doctrine assured the perseverance of saints that the elect could not fall away from grace, whatever their sins it also implied that only God knew which persons would be saved and which would be damned. Faced with this mystery, puritans could only follow God in word and deed, drawing inspiration from the sermons of their clerical leaders and repenting for fast sins in the hope that these would indicate or “justify” their election.


2.3 Facts of Puritanism

The writer has been discussed characteristics of Puritan concepts, where the Puritans society applied these concepts in their daily life. Even tough the writer already discussed about the puritan concepts, the writer need to know the facts of Puritans.

1. Puritans would be given the covenant of salvation by God.

J.D Legg ( 1986: 195) stated that Puritans spoke of salvation in terms of covenant for those who had been freely by God. From the quotation we conclude that God gave the salvation freely, according to His mercy and righteousness. The salvation could not be rejected by those who had chosen by God.

2. Puritans considered about the significant of personal Religious experience. J.D Legg( 1986: 199) also stated that salvation was God’s give to the person who was elected by God personally who persevered in the path of loneliness. We concluded that the religious experience of Puritans was very important in receiving God’s salvation. Puritans had to do God’s law which was revealed in scripture.

3.Scripture provided the indispensable Guide to life.

I.Morgan ( 1965:11) stated that Puritan view came from the scripture as principle of doctrine and practice, the guidance of life. From this statement, we concluded that the source of Puritan tradition was a scripture. The scripture became the standard of living and behaving in social life.

4.Puritanism has fought the flesh


perverted the human mind that if it had lost the power to appreciate the beauty. It also forced them to hide the natural form under the plea of chastity. In other words, Puritans had to practice self discipline which came from religions motives ( asceticism). Therefore, flesh was thought as something evil puritans life.

5 Puritanism considered women as the inferior to men.

Blumin ( 1995: 299- 338) stated that puritan women’s role was as domestic and private which separated from the world of the market place and public life. It means, that women were expected as good mother, a faithful wife, and also a good daughter. Women also were believed to be responsible for ethnical and spiritual character of the home as well as its comfort and tranquility.

Puritans considered women as the weak human, they were physically and skill fully inferior to the men. There fore, they were dependent on men in their lives. So, they had to obey their husband and father, as people who had a great authority to them.

6. Punishment was associated with the Puritan tradition

Margreth W. Masson ( 1976: 304) stated puritans conceived of body and soul as integral parts of the self. As a result of the fall, the body and the soul suffered punishment that had to be endured. From this statement means that Puritans would be given a punishment if they made mistake, or did not do their duties . The body as well as the soul had to suffer for their sins.


Puritan beliefs were filled with paradoxes. The puritans rebelled against others in order to create the perfect world, a utopia that did not allow for rebellion the Puritan beliefs and goal created a tension filled paradoxical dilemma. Man was not to sin, but he would sin anyway. Man was required to forgive but evil was ever present. Man was a seeker of salvation, but was helpless against evil. He was to live in hopes of eternal salvation, but he may not have been predetermined by God for salvation.

In the puritan discipline, dancing was acceptable, but sexual dancing was not. Drinking alcohol was also acceptable but becoming a drunkard was not. The puritans believed very strongly in marriage and were opposed to illicit sexual activities. Adultery was punishable by death, and fornication was to be punished be whipping. They wanted to purify the church of England and put and end to the hierarchy that led to corruption. They believe that church should follow the scripture exactly.

The puritans were just normal people, they were not supermen. They were not monks, they did not shrink from life. The puritans were also neither prohibitionist, or sexual prudes. They were very open minded for the time they had the view that they had to live in the world, but not become worldly.

The dilemma of puritans living affected individual puritans differently. Some went about their daily lives in uncertainty whether God had selected them for eternal salvation or condemned them to eternal damnation, tensions must have been tough on those who worked hard for success but under the puritan doctrine were daring to enjoy their wealth and success.


God’s wrath for their failures and of their religious decay. They believed that satan may have entered at this of faulting.





3.1 Intolerance

Nathaniel Hawthorne used his writing skills to appropriately show the strict intolerant ways of the disciplined Puritan America of 1850, with his novel The Scarlet Letter. This novel has become a classic, because of the accurate portrayal of the conservative Puritan ways. His novel is one of few to tell of the true Puritan lifestyle. Hawthorne explains the ways in which society cast out any individual for standing apart from the common crowd. The ways in which a person was punished by an entire community, only because their own ideas deviated from the common morals or values. And best of all, Hawthorne shows the way a “good Christian society” would lash out at anything they were afraid of.


The Puritans’ fear is what drives them to outcast Hester. A group of people with such over powering ethical beliefs has to focus their anger somewhere. They all live in fear they themselves will be outcast. So when the opportunity arises, they persecute someone else. The women all see Hester as a threat, because they are unsure of who the male partner was that participated in this act of sin. So the women who push for a more harsh punishment, act out not only due to the lack of morals behind her sin but they have an underlying selfish need as well. But everyone in the Puritan community can agree that Hester no longer deserves to be in their society, because she is not the same as them. She has proven she can not conform to the community’s value system so now she must wear the “A” on her chest. The town people want everyone to see she is different. Since she committed a defiant act, she will wear an obvious bright sign, to visually show the difference between herself and the mainstream.


while some find Hester’s pride in her letter “A” unusual, the reader can understand where her pride comes from. She may not be directly proud of her sin, but she realizes she is honest about what she chose to do. Hester becomes a better person with the lessons she learns from her punishment. She knows there is no reason for her to hide her shame as all of the others do, because she is honest about her values and choices. Her lesson is: while she may not have conformed to the mold of society, she knows she is a better person because of that. She can admit her rights and wrongs to herself and society, while everyone else lives in fear and keeps their own sins hiding in their hearts.

Throughout the novel it is mentioned the letter becomes more elegant and glamorous. This is a symbol for what the letter has come to mean to Hester. While it was meant for a punishment, society began to see the letter as something beautiful, because it seems to have set Hester free. The Puritans may see the letter gaining in beauty because they find the separation appealing, an escape from their own secrets and pain.


He would rather punish himself by concealing these over powering feelings of guilt and pain, because in his mind there is no punishment worse then being different, being outcast. He sees and understands the courage Hester possesses and shows by proudly exhibiting her letter, and by taking the punishment. While he can not help but hide his feelings, he envies the way Hester is set free by her confession. “Happy are you Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon yourbossom!” Dimmesdale thinks that if he punishes himself for the sin, then his guilt will go away. Throughout the story he goes through many ways to punish himself, such as fasting, staring at himself in the mirror for hours, whipping himself in the closet, and practicing at the scaffold how he will confess the next day.

He continues to delude himself thinking that being harsh on himself will make up for his dishonesty and deceptions. Even though he keeps all of his emotions silent, it eventually wears him down so much that it becomes noticeable in his appearance. “…His cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before-when it had now become a constant habit….to press his hand over his heart..” So until his very end, he keeps all of these feelings inside like all of the others. He is hiding behind a character of purity and value, all in fear of being seen for whom he really is; an individual.


teaching the idea of valuing your own morals and ideas above everyone else’s. Even when the battle is you versus everyone, even when a large conformed society is very hard to fight. The writer can see it from the introduction of The Scarlet letter.

The Custom House: introductory Sketch. The Custom house is largely an autobiographical sketch describing Hawthorne’s life as and administrator of the Salem Custom house. It was written overall size of The Scarlet Letter, since Hawthorne deemed the story too short to print by itself. It also serves as an excellent essay on society during Hawthorne’s times, and allows Hawthorne to pretend to have discovered The Scarlet Letter in the Custom House.

It is a little remarkable, that although disinclined to talk overmuch of my self and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends- an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public. The first time was three of four years since, when I favored the reader- in excusably, and for no earthly reason, that either the indulgent reader or the intrusive author could image with a description of my way of life in deep quietude of an old manse (Hawthorne 1962:4)

Hawthorne was granted the position of chief executive officer of the Custom house through the Presidents’ s commission. His analysis of the place is harsh and critical. He describes his staff as a bunch of tottering old men who rarely rise out of their chairs, and who spend each day sleeping or talking softly to one another.

I ascended the flight of granite steps, with the president’s commission in my pocket and was introduced to the corps of gentlemen who were to aid me in my weighty responsibility, as chief officer of the Custom



the cobblestones. The Custom house serves the small ship traffic which goes through the port, but is usually a quite place requiring only minimal amounts of work.

They spent a good deal of time, also asleep in their accustomed corners, with their chairs tilted back against the wall, awaking, however, once or twice in a fore noon, to bore one another with the several thousand the repetition of old sea- stories, and mould jokes, that had grown to be pass- words and counter signs among them (Hawthorne 1962:14)

It would be sad injustice, the reader must understand, to represent all my

excellent old friends as in their dotage. In the first place, my coadjutors were not invariably old; there were men among them in their strength and prime, of market ability and energy, but as respect the majority of my corps veterans, there will be no wrong done, if I characterize them generally as a set of wearisome old souls, who had gathered nothing worth preservation from their varied

experience of life (Hawthorne 1962:18)

The connection between Salem and the Puritans is made early on in the text. Hawthorne’s family originally settled in Salem, and he is a direct descendent of several ancestors. He describes his ancestors as severe Puritans decked out in black robes, laying harsh judgment upon people who strayed from their faith. When discussing his ancestors, Hawthorne is both reverent and mocking, jokingly wondering how an idler such as him self could have born from such lineage.

Much of the story then deals with long descriptions of the various men with whom he worked in the Custom House. General Miller, the collector, is the oldest in habitant, a man who had maintained a stellar career in the military, but who has chosen to work in the Custom house for the remainder of his years. The other man described by Hawthorne is the inspector.


Hawthorne writes that the job was created by the man’s father decades earlier, and that he has held the position ever since. The Inspector is the most light- hearted of the workers, constantly laughing and talking in spite of his age.

The upstairs of the Custom House was designed to accommodate a large movement of goods through the port, and is in ill- repair since it soon became extraneous.

the second story of the Custom House, there is a large room in which the brick- work and naked rafters have never been covered with paneling and plaster (Hawthorne 1962 :26)

Hawthorne says that the large upstairs hall was used to store document, and it is here that he finds an unusual package.

At one end of the room, in a recess, were a number of barrels, piled one upon another, containing bundles of official documents. (Hawthorne 1962:28)

The package contains some fabric with a faded letter “A” imprinted on the lothe, and some papers describing the entire story behind the letter. This is the story that Hawthorne claims is the basis for The Scarlet Letter.

But the object that most drew my attention, in the mysterious package, was a certain affair of fine red cloth, much worn and faded. There were traces about it of bold embroidery, which however. Was greatly frayed and defaced; so that none, or very little, of the glitter, with wonderful skill of needle work, as was easy to perceive. This rag of scarlet cloth, for time and wear and sacrilegious moth, had reduced it to little other than a rag, on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter. It was the capital letter A (Hawthorne 1962:29)


At the beginning of this novel, the writer has analyzed the Custom House, and as we know that the Custom House is the Introduction of this novel, where the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne.

So from the explanations above may be right as in Jim Cullen’s book “The American Dream” states: The word ‘Puritanical” is still in wide usage in the early twenty first century, usually as a synonym for intolerance and knowledgeable observers at home and abroad have attributed American prurience and self righteousness.( Cullen 2003:12) from above statement, the writer will reveal the Puritans that they are as intolerance people and what makes them being intolerant as reflected in Nathaniel Hawthorne “ The Scarlet Letter”.

A throng of bearded men, in sad- colored garments and gray, steeple- crowned hat, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes

(Hawthorne 1962 :42)


A large crowd of Puritans stands outside of the prison, waiting for the door to open. The prison is described as a “wooden jail” already marked with weather- stains and other indications of age which gave a yet darker aspect to its some of us beetle- browed and gloomy front. the iron on the prison is rusting and creates an overall appearance of decay.

Out side of the building, next to the door, a rosebush stand in full bloom. Hawthorne remarks that it is possible “this rose bush” had sprung up under the foot steps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison door. He then plucks one of the roses and offers it to the reader as a “moral blossom”

The prison represents several different symbols foremost it is a symbol for the puritanical severity of law. The description of the prison indicates that it is old, rusted, yet strong with “an iron clamped oaken door” this represent the rigorous enforcement of laws and the inability to break free of them.

The prison also serves as a metaphors for the authority of the regime, which will not tolerate deviance. Hawthorne directly challenges this notion by throwing the name Ann Hutchinson in to the opening pages. Hutchinson was a religious women who disagreed with the puritanical teachings and as a result was imprisoned is Boston. Hawthorne claims that is possible that the beautiful rosebush growing directly at the prison door sprang from her footsteps. This implies that the Puritanical authoritarianism may be too rigid, to the point of obliterating things of beauty.


may serves let us hope to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow (Hawthorne 1962:43)

“ Goodwives” said a hard- featured dame of fifty, I’ll tell ye a piece of my mind. It would be greatly for the public be hoof, if we women, being of mature age and church members in good repute, should have the handling of such male factresses as this Hester Prynne. What think ye gossips? If the hussy stood up for judgment before us five, that are now here in a knot together, would she come of with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded? Marry I throw not? (Hawthorne 1962: 45)

The crowd in front of the jail is a mixture of men and women, all maintaining severe looks of disapproval, Several of the women begin to discuss Hester Prynne, and soon vow that Hester would not have received such a light sentence for her crime if they had been the judges. One woman, the ugliest of the group, goes so far as to advocate death for Hester. And states

” This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die”. (Hawthorne 1962: 45)

The Puritans attitude toward Hester Prynne was punished by her guilt. The intolerance means here by blaming and force her to tell who is the father of her baby, as long as she doesn’t open her month, she will receive the consequences and called as a “hussy woman” and she has to wear her gown with embroidered letter A”

On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate with an embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A

(Hawthorne 1962:46)

The most prominent part of this novel is The Scarlet Letter A so brazenly gown onto Hester’s clothing the “A” takes on many meaning during the course of the novel, and even in this scene it immediately means more than just “ adultery” the fine stitch work and gold thread create the perception that the letter is ornamental or a decoration.


But then, again, an accustomed eye had like wise its own anguish to inflict. Its cool stare of familiarity was intolerable. (Hawthorne 1962:74)

Hester Prynne become a victim of the Puritan’s law and norms. Even stranger in her town treated poorly, throughout the way stare her curiously to her gown. And even for infant baby, the Puritans considered that her baby is a symbol of her guilty and the product of her sins. Hawthorne, in write down his novel, emphasis the treatment of The Puritan towards Hester’s baby. No one of the Puritans care her and even though for the children. The children always mock toward her and nobody likes her.

How strange it seemed to the sad woman, as she watched the growth, and the beauty that became every day more brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child! Her pearl!- for so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned. (Hawthorne 1962:76)

Governor Bellingham, accompanied by the Revered John Wilson, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth, enters the hall of his mansion. He first sees pearl, dressed lavishly in her scarlet outfit, standing in front of him. pearl introduces herself and tells them her name, at which point John Wilson state, “ Ruby, rather… or Red Rose, at the very least, judging from thy hue.”

The men then see Hester Prynne in the background. Governor Bellingham tells her that he thinks it would be better for the child if pearl were removed from her mother’s care. Hester responds that she can teach the child what she has learned from the Scarlet Letter, at which point Bellingham sternly indicates that the letter is precisely the reason they want to remove Pearl from her care.


grows by the prison door. The Governor is so shocked by her reply that is immediately prepared to take Pearl away from Hester.

Hester grabs pearls and screams that she will die before the men are allowed to take her daughter. Finally, in act of desperation, she turns to Arthur Dimmesdale and pleads with him to speak on her behalf. He comes forward with his hand over his heart and argues that God has obviously given pearls to Hester for some divine reason, and that it would meddle with ways of the Lord to take Pearl away from her. He then indicates that Pearl is punishment for Hester as well, evidenced by the “ grab of the poor child, so forcibly reminding us of that red symbol which sears [ Hester’s ] bosom”

Much of in this novel, is dedicated to drawing stronger parallels between pearl, The Scarlet letter, and the red rose. Thus pearl is called a “Red Rose”. Even stronger is pearl’s response to Wilson’s question concerning who made her, where she says that she was plucked off of the rose bush outside the prison door. This directly tells the reader that Pearl is the person to reveal the moral element of the story, for she embodies the morality which will appear.

3.2 Cruelty


punishment should be based upon the severity of their crime. However, what many people overlook is the fact that in time, we all have committed sins.

In The Scarlet Letter, punishment is the main theme of the novel and how Hester Prynne, the main character, has been punished for her sin of adultery. As Nathaniel Hawthorne states in this novel, "In the view of Infinite Purity, we are sinners all alike." This statement puts a big question mark on the true lives of the Puritans. If we all have once committed a moral wrongdoing, why is this young woman so harshly punished for she

“Ah, but, interposed more softly, a young wife a child by the hand, let her cover the mark as she will, the bang of it will be always in her heart” (Hawthorne 1962:45 ]

From above quotation express the feeling of sympathy only expressed by one of the characters throughout this scene, is used by Hawthorne to criticize the Puritans for their strictness. The society is too strict in its ways, and Hawthorne shows his contempt for the treatment of Hester by constantly reinforcing how cruelly the people talk about her.

“At the very last, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s fore head. Madam Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she,- the naughty baggage,- little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown! why, look you, she may cover it with a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever….This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there not law for it? Truly there is, both in Scripture. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect “(Hawthorne 1962:45)


her realization that she must now deal with the letter. “ these were her realities-all else vanished.”

After Hester returns to her prison cell, she remains agitated by the days events, pearl is also upset and start crying. The jailer therefore allows a physicians to enter and try to calm them down.Roger Chillingworth, pretending to be a physician, enter and mixes a position for, who soon falls asleep. He also makes a drink for Hester, who is afraid that he is trying to kill her nevertheless, she drinks his positions and sits down on the bed. Chillingworth tells her that he forgives her, and accept the blame for having marred younger than himself. He ask Hester who the father of pearls, but she refuses to tell him, Chillingworth then laughs and says “He bears no letter of infamy wrought into him, chillingworth then laughs and says

“ he bears no letter of infamy wrought into his garment, as thou dost, but I shared it on his heart”

She could no longer borrow from the nature, to help her through the present grief. To- morrow would bring its own trial with it, so would the next day, and so would the next: each its own trials and yet the very same that was now.” (Hawthorne 1962:67)

Moreover, the puritans very cruel in manner. They treated a sinful man so inhuman. They persecuted Hester Prynne and her daughter too. The punishment that be given to Hester Prynne was so heavy, as the following quation describe the condition and the suffering of Hester Prynne.

Lonely as was Hester’s situation, without a friend on earth who dared to show himself, she, however incurered to risk of want. She possesed an art that sufficed, even in a land that afforded comparatively little scope for exercises, to supply food for her triving infant and herself



In The Scarlet Letter Hypocrisy is evident everywhere. The characters of Hester , Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and even the society or the characters lived in., were steeped in hypocrisy. Hawthorne was not subtle in his portrayal of the terrible sin of hypocrisy; he made sure it was easy to see the sin at work. Parallels can be drawn between the characters.

The first character, Hester Prynne, is guilty of adultery and of hypocrisy. She “loves” Dimmesdale yet she says nothing while for seven years Dimmesdale is slowly tortured. This love she felt that was so strong, that it made her break sacred vows must have disappeared. Why else would she condemn her supposed love to the hands of her vengeful husband. Dimmesdale is continually tortured by his inner demons of guilt that gnaw at his soul, and Chillingworth makes sure these demons never go away. Hester allows this to happen. Physically and mentally the minister begins to weaken, slowly he becomes emaciated, and he punishes himself constantly. Only when Hester knows that if Chillingworth is aloud to continue, that Dimmesdale will surely go insane if she does not reveal her secret. She did not reveal who her lover was on the scaffolding when she had the perfect opportunity to.

Also, she did not tell her husband who her lover. Hester can atone for her sin of adultery, but every day that she keeps the secret of her lover, and the true identity of Roger Chillingworth a secret she is committing a sin. If Hester would have

“Take heed how thou deniest to him---who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself---the bitter, but wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips!”


Everyone Hester Prynne loves, she does in a hypocritical way. She loves Pearl enough to sacrifice to feed and clothe her, but she does not love Pearl enough to give her a father. Hester loves Dimmesdale, but she does not love him enough to expose his sin publicly, and she conceals her knowledge of Chillingworth. Either you love something whole-heartedly, or you don’t. Hawthorne might have portrayed Hester in a more favorable light then the other characters, but still she should have to wear a scarlet letter. The second character, Arthur Dimmesdale . Dimmesdale says very near the beginning of the book

“What can thy silence do for him, except to tempt him---yea, compel him, as it

were---to add hypocrisy to sin?”( (Hawthorne 1962:47)


spiritually. Dimmesdale’s and Hester’s love are alike in their limitations. While Dimmesdale does speak up for Hester keeping her Pearl

“Truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! God gave her the child, and gave her, too, an instinctive knowledge of its nature and requirements,---both seemingly so peculiar,---which no other moral being can posses. And, moreover, is there not a quality of awful sacredness in the relation between this mother and this

child.” (Hawthorne 1962: 45)

The scene at the scaffolding at night is a truly disgusting scene of hypocrisy. Arthur seizes the opportunity to go up on the scaffolding and feel better about his sin, but when he sees a fellow man of the cloth walking by, he cowers. Would it not have been better to have his sin revealed? Then when Hester and Pear stand with him Pear asks “Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide(p 105) The minister is given another chance to redeem himself, but he cowers yet again!

Dimmesdale is selfish, he tries to atone in private, by whipping himself and fasting. This accomplishes nothing, he knows in his heart that no punishment in private will get him forgiveness from the lord. Yet he continues his practices of private punishment, so he temporarily feels better about himself. Another occurrence of hypocrisy was when Hester finally revealed the true identity of Rodger Chillingworth. Dimmesdale was overcome with anger, how could Arthur have been mad? Hester had finally conquered her weakness of character, and told him the truth.


was a bad, unjust, and foolish. Dimmesdale recognizes the danger of hypocrisy, but his character is too weak to avoid the pitfall of hypocrisy.

The third character of Roger Chillingworth is a man who at one point was guided by intellect, and not his emotions. He pretends to be Dimmesdale’s friend, but inflicts grievous wounds upon the reverend. At the beginning of The Scarlet Letter Rodger returns to his wife, only to find her being publicly condemned for adultery, his emotions began to take over. At that point, his only goal in life is revenge. When he eventually figures out who Hester’s lover was, he begins to torture Dimmesdale in such a way that he does not know he is being tortured. Chilingworth’s emotions rule him, his single-minded pursuit of revenge overtakes him.

He is supposed to be a scholar, a man of reason. Revenge for the betrayal of Hester is the driving force in his life. The actual torture he inflicts is purely mental, and is successful in breaking Dimmesdale’s body and soul down. During one instance Chillingworth sees what he has become “The unfortunate physician, while uttering these words, lifted his hands with a look of horror, as if he had beheld some frightful shape, which he could not recognize, usurping the place of his own image in a glass. It was on of those moments---which sometimes occur only in the interval of year---when a man’s moral aspect is faithfully revealed to his mind’s eye.


punishment. Each one of the housewives was advocating harsher punishment for Hester. “The magistrates are God-fearing gentleman, but merciful overmuch,that is the truth,” added a third autumnal matron.

“At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead. Madam Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me.” (Hawthorne 1962: 36)

Religion is often the source of much hypocrisy. A great example of Hypocrisy is the major theme in The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne’s work was meant to highlight the hypocrisy in Puritan society, and in the people that make up the society. The Scarlet Letter was meant to expose just how much of a sin hypocrisy is, and just how it causes so much pain and suffering.

The hypocrisy of puritan in this novel is so clear. Hawthorne, in his opinion toward puritan by describing the main character, Hester Prynne as a victims by the puritan‘s norm and law. This critical novel really address to Puritans whether they treated a sinful man very cruel, treated cunningly. They can not tolerate the human weaknesses.

As clergyman wrote in the early seventeenth century, in Jim Cullen’s book The American Dream “not because you are purer than other man… but because you think yourself to be purer.” (Cullen 2003: 11)

Quotation above is also supported by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. As the writer pay attention to the Puritan behavior, they think that they are pure than other. So they treated Hester prynne poorly and punish her because of her sin, she has committed adultery, and she can’t tell who is the father of her baby.


does not avail herself of the opportunity to escape to a new life without shame in some other city. He remarks that often people are irresistibly drawn to live near the place where a great has occurred. He further comments that even if that is not the reason, Hester may have been inclined to remain in Boston because her secret lover still lived there.

Hester Prynne’s term of conferment was now at an end. Her prison door was thrown open, and she came forth into the sunshine, which falling on all a like, seemed, to her sick and morbid heart, as if meant for no other propose than to reveal the letter on her breast. (Hawthorne 1962: 67)

Hester’s skill at needle work, earlier shown in the fine way that she displayed the Scarlet letter, allows her to maintain a fairly stable lifestyle. However her reputation as an out cast and loner causes a certain our to be cast around her. Thus, Hawthorne points out that young children often crept up to her house to spy on her while worked. He also comments that in spite of her excellent needlework, she was never called upon to make a bridal gown due to her reputation.

She possessed an art that sufficed, even in a lard that afforded comparatively little scope for its exercise, to supply food for her thriving infant and herself it was the art then, as now, almost the only one within a woman’s grasp of needle- work Hester’s social life is virtually eliminated as a result of her shameful history. She is treated to poorly that often preachers will stop in the streets and start to deliver a lecturer as he walks by.

The days of the far off future to take up and bear along with her, but never to fling down ; for the accumulating days, and added years, would pile up their misery upon the heap of shame. Thorough out them all, giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman’s frailty and sinful passion.


From the quotation above, show us Hester’s trials. She has to faces her punishment, because of her guilty and she treated poorly. Hawthorne, emphasis the hypocrisy of the Puritans in his novel. And if we pay attention to bellow quotation:

Continually, and in a thousand other ways, did she feel the innumerable throbs of anguish that had been so cunningly contrived for her by the undying, the ever active sentence of the Puritan tribunal. Clergyman paused in the street to address words of exhortation, that brought a crowd, with its mingled grin and frown, around the poor, sinful woman. If she entered a church, trusting to share the Sabbath smile of the Universal Father, it was often her mishap to find herself the text of the discourse. She grew to have a dread of children; for they had imbibed from their parents a vague idea of something horrible in this dreary woman, gliding silently through the town, with never any companion but one only child. Therefore, first allowing her to pass, they pursued her at a distance with shrill cries, and the utterance of a word that had no distinct purport to their own minds, but was none the less terrible to her, as proceeding from lips that babbled it unconsciously. It seemed to argue so wide a diffusion of her shame, that all nature knew of it; it could have caused her no deeper pang, had the leaves of the trees whispered the dark story among themselves,- had the summer breeze murmured about it,- had the wintry blast shrieked it aloud! Another peculiar torture was felt in the gaze of a new eye. When stranger looked curiously at the scarlet letter, - and none ever failed to do so, they branded it afresh into Hester’s soul; so that, oftentimes she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand. But then, again, an accustomed eye had like wise its own anguish to inflict. Its cool stare of familiarity was intolerable. (Hawthorne 1962: 78)

If we pay attention to the statement above, we may know exactly about the puritan is. Hawthorne puts it,” gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts.” This is interesting because many of the people Hawthorne accuses of hypocrisy as regards The Scarlet Letter are, “a venerable minister or magistrate, “ people who are viewed as models of “ piety and justice.”

Therefore, Nathaniel Hawthorne by the end of the story as a conclusion, he wrote:


phantom of human merit, which would look aspiringly upward. Without disputing a truth so momentous, we must be allowed to consider this version of Mr. Dimmesdale’s story as only and instance of that stubborn fidelity with which a man’s friends – and especially a clergyman’s- will sometimes uphold his character; when proofs, clear as the mid-day sunshine on the scarlet letter, establish him a false and sin- stained creature of the dust. (Hawthorne 1962: 121]




4.1 Conclusion

After having analyzed the Puritanistic values trough Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, I conclude that there are three intolerable behaviors which are supposed to be in sociable morally. They are intolerance, cruelty, hypocrisy.

The intolerance attitude arises because the puritans think that they are the chosen people by God. They have absolute rights to determine which one is right and which one is not right for the authority of God is on their hands. That’s why they deny living together for those who are not brought into their groups only.

The Puritans are also quite strict in principle by having no option for bitterness. They are blind to treat punishment for the wrongness as if they were not forgiveness for the mistakes. They are very cruel in punishing the sinner only for their own partly judgment. The Puritans seem not to take the human side value for punishment which results cruelty in their social behavior.

More than the effect of cruel punishment, the Puritans are hypocritical in manner. They hide badness behind the words of God. They can not tolerate the consequency of being true in God is referred to limited power of man. Man is a weak creature which is denied by Puritans that direct them to be hypocrites.

4.2 Sugestion


portrayals it self voices social phenomena which is rather in contrast than the true meaning of humanity.



Bernard, L.L. 1930. Attitudes Social in Encyclopedia of the Social sciences. New York: Macmillan.

Blumin, M Stuart. 1995. The Hypothesis of Middle- Class Formation in Ninetieth Century :a critique and proposal. New York : American Review

Cullen, Jim. 2003. The American Dream. New York: Oxford University Press

Davies, A. Andrew. 1990. The Nature of Puritanism in Perfecting the Church Below. London: The west monster conference

Endraswarsa, Suwardi.2003. Metodelogi Penelitian Sastra Yogyakarta: Pustaka Widyautama

Flower, Elizabeth and Murphy.G. Murray. 1997. A History of philosophy in America (vol I). New York: Capricorn Books

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. 1962. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Ohio States University Press

--- 2004. The Scarlet Letter ( terjemahan). Yogyakarta: Narasi

Hudson, Winthrops. 1965. Religion in America, In Historical Account of The Development of American Religious Life. United States: Charle Scriones’s J.D Legg. 1986. The Footsteps of God. New York: Evangelical Press.

Kenney, William. 1966. How to Analyze Fiction. New York Oxford University Press. Lauter Paul.1994.The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington D.C: Heath



- ---1939. The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century. New York: Garden City Achor Books

Palmer, Edwin. 1996. Lima Pokok Calvinisme. Jakarta: Lembaga Reformed Injili.

Wellek, Rene and Austin Warren. 1989. Theory of Literature ( Third edition). New York

: A harvest Book, Brace and World Incoperation.

Another resources


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(Uploaded on January, 21st 2008)


Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Literary Works

Fanshawe, published anonymously, 1826;

Twice-Told Tales, 1stSeries, 1837; 2nd Series, 1842; Grandfather's Chair, a historyfor youth, 1845

Famous Old People (Grandfather's Chair), 1841

Liberty Tree: with the last words of Grandfather's Chair, 1842; Biographical Stories for Children, 1842;

Mosses from an OldManse, 1846; The Scarlet Letter, 1850;

The House of the SevenGables, 1851:

True Stories from History and Biography (the wholeHistory of Grandfather's Chair),1851

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, 1851; The Snow Image and other Tales, 1851: The Blithedale Romance, 1852;

Life of Franklin Pierce, 1852;

Tanglewood Tales(2nd Series of the Wonder Book), 1853 A Rill from the Town-Pump,with remarks, by Telba, 1857; The Marble Faun; or, The Romance of

Monte Beni (4 EDITOR'S NOTE) (published in England under the title of "Transformation"), 1860,



Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1804. His family

descended from the earliest settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; among his

forebears was John Hathorne (Hawthorne added the “w” to his name when he began to

write), one of the judges at the 1692 Salem witch trials. 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. Hawthorne also held positions as an editor and as a customs surveyor

during this period. His growing relationship with the intellectual circle that included

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller led him to abandon his customs post for the

utopian experiment at Brook Farm, a commune designed to promote economic

self-sufficiency and transcendentalist principles. Transcendentalism was a religious and

philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century that was dedicated to the belief

that divinity manifests itself everywhere, particularly in the natural world. It also

advocated a personalized, direct relationship with the divine in place of formalized,

structured religion. This second transcendental idea is privileged in The Scarlet Letter.

After marrying fellow transcendentalist Sophia Peabody in 1842, Hawthorne left

Brook Farm and moved into the Old Manse, a home in Concord where Emerson had

once lived. In 1846 he published Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of essays and

stories, many of which are about early America. Mosses from an Old Manse earned

Hawthorne the attention of the literary establishment because America was trying to

establish a cultural independence to complement its political independence, and

Hawthorne’s collection of stories displayed both a stylistic freshness and an interest in

American subject matter. Herman Melville, among others, hailed Hawthorne as the


In 1845 Hawthorne again went to work as a customs surveyor, this time, like the

narrator of The Scarlet Letter, at a post in Salem. In 1850, after having lost the job, he

published The Scarlet Letter to enthusiastic, if not widespread, acclaim. His other major

novels include The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852),

and The Marble Faun (1860). In 1853 Hawthorne’s college friend Franklin Pierce, for

whom he had written a campaign biography and who had since become president,

appointed Hawthorne a United States consul. The writer spent the next six years in

Europe. He died in 1864, a few years after returning to America.

The majority of Hawthorne’s work takes America’s Puritan past as its subject,

but The Scarlet Letter uses the material to greatest effect. The Puritans were a group of

religious reformers who arrived in Massachusetts in the 1630s under the leadership of

John Winthrop (whose death is recounted in the novel). The religious sect was known

for its intolerance of dissenting ideas and lifestyles. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne

uses the repressive, authoritarian Puritan society as an analogue for humankind in

general. The Puritan setting also enables him to portray the human soul under extreme

-pressures. Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth, while unquestionably part of the

Puritan society in which they live, also reflect universal experiences. Hawthorne speaks

specifically to American issues, but he circumvents the aesthetic and thematic

limitations that might accompany such a focus. His universality and his dramatic flair