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Scarlet Letter Essay

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This short excerpt from the beginning of The Scarlet Letter indicates that the story is being told from the perspective of someone who is perhaps a bit skeptical of the reliability of the Puritan religion. The overall sense of negativity throughout the passage informs the reader that whoever may be narrating may think of themself as being above the Puritan doctrine. It isn't unbelievable, as the Puritan way of life seems to be rather mundane and unexciting, and the sentencing of a criminal is the greatest cause for celebration. It is perfectly possible, that, with the presence of the words "...not less than two centuries ago...", the narrator may in fact be retelling a story long after the events depicted therein have taken place, it would not be uncommon for the narrator to see their relatively modern lifestyle as superior to the perceivably archaic one that is in their story.

In addition to the above, another interesting item within the passage is the line " befitted a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical, and interfused, that the mildest and severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful.", which, when taken literally, means that the Puritans either didn't care to have a system of law that differed from the religious aspect of their lives' or weren't aware that they were the very same. Secondly, it came to be that any public act of discipline were made out to be devices of entertainment, while retaining their nefarious purpose. From those two aspects alone, the Puritan way of life already begins to sound substandard to the narrator...

But there are quite a few more, on top of the previous two, the women are made out to be gossip mongers and vastly judgmental of those who the believe to be inferior to them, even though they themselves are given the description of being vaguely man-like, and laid from a foundation of beef and ale, with a distinct lack



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