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Individuality vs. Conformity

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Abbey Ruth

on 1 March 2013

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Transcript of Individuality vs. Conformity

INDIVIDUALITY vs. CONFORMITY The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Story of Hester Prynne The Basics of a Puritan Society (From Notes Handout):
Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent with the Church of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms.
God could forgive anything, but man could forgive only by seeing a change in behavior. "A" stands for "able" now, not just adulterer.
People now have wild & bold thoughts adhere to society's rules "The next instant, back it all rushed again, with still a deeper throb of pain; for, in that brief interval, she had sinned anew. Had Hester sinned alone?" (Hawthorne 77) Hester Prynne has an affair with the Minister of Boston
Hester is pregnant with an "elfish looking child"-the town is unsure as to whether or not this child was born of religious purposes or out of sin.
Hester is forced to stand alone which allows her to develop a sense of identity Standing Alone Forced to fight on her own, Hester chooses to live on the outskirts of town. Far enough to which there is a fine line separating her from the rest of society. Hester and her daughter are talked about and taunted throughout the story; leading Hester to one choice: if you can't change it, you must embrace it.
Hester's persona is significant to modern society because as humans, we all make mistakes, no one is perfect. "-Was that Scarlet Letter so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell taking her out of ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself." (Hawthorne 48) Blending In vs Standing Out Hester isn't the only one who won't confess who she had an affair with, neither will her partner, Reverend Dimmsdale. Dimmsdale experiences inner turmoil as he watches his daughter from the sidelines. Due to his high position in society and insecurity, Dimmsdale restrains himself from confessing the worst sin of all: adultery. Reading between the Lines On page 73 in the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne is not just describing the daily activities of Hester Prynne, but describing her importance in a Puritan society. Hester's carefully-crafted outfits give her some acceptance from the people despite her sin.
Hester slowly takes society away from its original foundations to a more modern lifestyle. She is able to raise and make decisions for her child and herself without society dictating her every move. "In this manner, Hester Prynne came to have a part to perform in the world...In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it." (Hawthorne 75). "-she felt or fancied then, that the scarlet letter had endowed her with a new sense...that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts... " (Hawthorne 77). "And we must needs say, it seared Hester's bosom so deeply, that perhaps there was more truth in the rumor than our modern incredulity may be inclined to admit." (Hawthorne 79) John Proctor has an affair with a woman named Abigail Williams. His niece and a few others accuse Abigail of casting spells and other witch craft on them. A series of accusations and trials leave John wondering; should he conform to society's faulty beliefs? Or stand alone? Proctor's niece and daughter stick to their false stories to avoid being negatively judged.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller Individuality vs Conformity in The Crucible Many escaped from Europe for religious freedom
An actual Crucible is like a burner used to melt things- in this case, it melts together to form individuality
Majority signed petition in favor for a friend during trials
Some were skeptical of who to believe Higher Power above All In a way, both the Scarlet Letter and the Crucible have overpowering governments or hierarchy that sort of dictate how society is run. The Scarlet Letter The Crucible Hester has to stand on a platform with those with higher power behind her
Punishment is enforced through these leaders
Dimmsdale acts the way he does b/c of his position Rev. Hale tries to fix problems b/c of guilt
Many try to clear their name off of trial list
Those in charge try to intimidate those below them
Standing Alone As the trials continue, many are skeptical as to whether or not they should confess. Even if it may lead them to a bad decision in the end. Proctor, even though he may have had nothing to do with the trials, he openly confessed his sin about Abigail. Causing a whole other issue, Proctor was willing to go against the crowd and die for what he believed in. Individuality vs Conformity Between Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, one important concept from the two will change how we look at things from this point on. There is no level or degree on who sinned worse. Hester may have not been able to hide her sin, but she was willing to take on the challenges that came with it. Proctor, who also sinned, chose to tell the truth, even it meant risking his life. In all sense, humans make mistakes, its just who we are. Whose to say they are better than someone else? Olive Penderghast from "Easy A" could be considered a more modern form of someone willing to take on society's challenges-even if it didn't start with them in the first place.
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