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scarlet letter

Nathaniel Hawthornes background influenced him to write the bold novel The Scarlet Letter. One important influence on the story is money. Hawthorne had never mademuch money as an author and the birth of his first daughter added to the financial burden(biographical note VII). He received a job at the Salem Custom House only to lose itthree years later and be forced to write again to support his family (IX). ConsequentlyThe Scarlet Letter was published one year later. It was only intended to be a lengthlyshort story, however the extra money a novel would bring in was needed (IntroductionXVI). In addition to financial worries, another influence on the story is Hawthornesrejection of his ancestors. His forefathers were strict Puritans, and John Hathorne, hisgreat-great-grandfather, was a judge presiding during the Salem witch trials(Biographical note VII). Hawthorne did not condone their acts and actually spent a greatdeal of his life renouncing the Puritans in general. Similarly, The Scarlet Letter was aliteral soapbox on which to stand and tell the world that the majority of Puritans werecold and unfeeling. For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is beingscorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment. Instead ofonly being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, theysuggest that she have it branded on her forehead or that she be put to death (51). Perhapsthe most important influence on the story is the authors interest in the dark side(Introduction VIII). Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne confrontedreality, rather than evading it (VII). Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery,which caused much scandal when it was first published (XV). The book revolves aroundsin and punishment, a far cry from the writers of the time. Writers such as Emerson andThoreau did not write about such issues. This background, together with a beli...

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