Historical Background of The Scarlet Letter and The Connection
The term "Puritan" actually started out as a taunt or insult for someone who wanted to "purify the Church of England" in the era of Anglicanism. the "Puritans" refer to two distinct group of people in the new colonies. The "separating" puritans refers to the people who settled mainly Plymouth. This group of Puritans wanted to separate entirely from the Church of England. These Puritans believe that the Church of England is corrupt and that true Christians must separate themselves from it. Most Massachusetts colonists were non-separating colonists, such as those that settled the Massachusetts bay Colony, who believed in reform and not separating. These Puritans believed in forming churches through voluntary compacts or covenants, which were central to the Puritans' conception of social, political, and religious organizations. Puritans believed in the concept of "predestination", which is the religious belief that God picks a select few to find salvation and the rest are sent to Hell. England soon began to embrace beliefs set by the Puritans: the focus on an individuals acceptance or rejection of grace; a toleration of diverse religious beliefs; and an acceptance of "high church" rituals and symbols. The Puritan migration was overwhelmingly a migration of families. To express the Puritans idea of a godly city they created the "New England Way". the "New England Way" was a rigorous examination of a person's spiritual beliefs to identify "saints", or those qualified to be a church member. Education was a high priority in Puritan society because literacy was essential to bible study.
-Here is a video describing the English Reformation started by the Puritans. http://www.history.com/topics/puritanism/videos#protestand-reformation-english-reformation
Hawthorne became one of the leading writers of his time, moving away from formalism and exploring the ideas of individual responsibility, the importance of creative expression and man's relationship to the world. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on 4 July 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. Nathaniel Hawthorne's relatives generates strait from the first Puritans that settled in Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorne felt a lingering guilt that his great grandfather had for his father playing a major role in the Salem which trails, which provided a theme for many of his stories. Hawthorne attained Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (1821-24) along with the future president Franklin Pierce. In Boston on 9 July 1842, Hawthorne married painter and fellow transcendentalist Sophia Peabody with whom he would have three children. After Hawthorne lost his job at the Salem Custom House, due to change in political administration, Hawthorne denounced his wish to leave Salem, which he called the “abominable city,” saying that he now had no reason to remain.
Connection Between Hawthorn's Past and The Scarlet Letter
Hawthorn's past led him to believe that maybe the Puritan life style is not all it is cracked up to be. The constant forcing of religion on the children has created in absence from the religion itself, because they did not allow them to choose on their own. The younger generation of the Puritans did not feel that same connection as did their ancestors who came to this country for their religion. The Puritans forced the religion down their children's throats to a point where it hurt, and because of that the children, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, feel no ties to the religion any more. Nathaniel Hawthorne also believed that we do not need to be shunned or banned because of one mistake. He believed that as human beings we all make mistakes it is the ability to learn from those mistakes that we can be judged on. Nathaniel Hawthorne shows his critical attitude towards the Puritans in his book the Scarlet Letter. one way that he shows his critical attitude is through focusing on Hester Prynne, the very embodiment of the defiance against the Puritan way of life. Since Nathaniel Hawthorne believed that we should not be punished for a mistake, he made the Scarlet Letter as a way to show the Puritans in a way that would seem extreme and un appealing to the normal people of the world, such as the concept of adultery, witch craft, and the "Black Man" (The Devil).