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Scarlet Letter Historical Background

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by

Kaitlyn Galtere

on 24 September 2013

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Transcript of Scarlet Letter Historical Background

Scarlet Letter Historical Background
Hawthorne as a Writer
-Friends with Emerson and Thoreau (transcendentalists)

-Published other books and stories before The Scarlet Letter that didn't receive much attention

-Wrote some Gothic fiction (combines horror and romance)
Hawthorne and Politics
-Had an enthusiam for Democratic Politics

-Was skeptical of transcendentalist view point (idealistic, hopeful view)

-Felt "alienated and intimidated by" Puritans
So...now that you know about the history....
-Apply Historicism

Reading a text for its contextual significance.
This would include information about the author, his or
her historical moment, or the systems of meaning available
at the time of writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Early years
-born 1804

-Lived in Salem, Massachusetts with his mother for many years.

-Mother was pregnant BEFORE she was married

-Absent father--was a sailor and died at sea when Hawthorne was very young

-Father's family came from a Puritan background
-An ancestor was a judge during the Salem Witch Trials.

-Lived and went to school in Maine for many years

-Appreciated hunting, fishing, walking, and skating


Hawthorne cont.
-Lived in Brook Farm, an experimental Utopia

-Worked in a Custom House (a government building that processed paperwork) and became bored/frustrated with it
Hawthorne, cont.
The Scarlet Letter
-Inspired when Hawthorne was working in the Custom House

- Addresses spiritual and moral issues

-A mix of history and imagination

-outraged Puritanical readers of the day

-Published in 1850
Connect what you've learned to "The Custom House" and chapter 1
Full transcript