Romantic literature is defined to be that your imagination is able to find the true meaning of life, unlike how the mind cannot. Romantics use symbolism, inner emotions, and nature's beauty to help find the truth about life. The Scarlet Letter uses many symbols, characters, and descriptions to show romanticism. The novel defines the American Romanticist movement while using symbolism and places that give the book its meaning, such as morals, religion, and public mindset. The novel is also defined as romantic by the characters in it. Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale play a role to the story as to showing their emotions. Furthermore, the novel can be defined by reflecting on nature. The Scarlet Letter uses the rosebush as something natural in the Puritan society.
I totally agree with your response Jason! Nathaniel Hawthorne places a significant amount of symbols in the Scarlet Letter. The Scarlet Letter is indeed a perfect example of Romantic literature.
From 1830-1865, romantic movement took place, which emphasized inner experience, individualism, and innocence. Because "The Scarlet Letter" was set in the past, the Puritan era, people place the novel under Romantic Literature. Romantic Literature is based on individual thought and discovery and is the expedition to find the the meaning to life. Like so, "The Scarlet Letter" tells a tale of individuals involved in adultery and how each react to the situation. Throughout the novel Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale are finding flaws within the society and are changing the perspectives of the civilians by portraying their inner thoughts. The author stresses the importance of each character's emotions and how they interpret each other's feelings. For instance, the image of Roger in Hester's head changes when she finds out that Roger seeks revenge on her paramour. "The Scarlet Letter" represents romantic literature by having the characters look for truth/ purpose/ reason/ spiritual value.
According to the article, Romanticism can be characterized by a "faith in inner experience." The entire story of The Scarlet Letter is essentially the story of Hester discovering her identity through her experiences and internal struggles. Although she is shunned by society, deemed a sinner, and exiled to the outskirts of town, she does not allow society to determine who she is. Her inner experiences allow her to shift the meaning of the "A" from "adultery" to "able." While Hester's inner experiences allow her to discover a more positive version of herself, Dimmesdale's internal issues become the cause of his downfall and death. Throughout the story, Dimmesdale struggles with his dark secret and eventually it causes the deterioration of his health. Romanticism also "shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature." In the story, there is a clear distinction between the artificial civilization (the town) and the unspoiled nature (the forest). Although the towns members and the Puritan society see the forest as a dark and evil place where the Devil lives, in reality it is the place where the characters can be the most honest and true to themselves. All in all, Romanticism focuses on nature's beauty and champions individual freedom and discovery. In The Scarlet Letter, the characters and the setting represent all of the characteristics of this type of literature.
Jason, I agree with your statements on Romanticism. I think that the ideas of "nature" and "inner emotion" could have been more explicit, and that the usage of characters could have been further explained in particular. Overall, it just needs more backing/examples/explanation. Nice beginning to it though, it got right to the point.
Ivan and michael did a great job to explain how the Scarlet Letter is represented as a romantic novel. Both briefly explained how Romantics used many characteristics like emotion and nature to find the true meaning of life. Overall, Ivan and Michael gave great examples to support the fact that the Scarlet Letter represents a romantic novel.
Michael, I agree with your discussion that the meaning of The Scarlet Letter was the faith earned through experience as is with Romanticism. It is true that Hester has learned to acknowledge her sins and to turn the tide of how the letter's symbolism has changed throughout Hester's life. She has really learned faith to herself and to the individuals that she dearly loved. Also the description of the forest scene really emphasizes the message in which the story provides, that certain situations are a matter of perspective.
Romanticism upholds individual freedom, uncontaminated nature, and child-like innocence, however, it looks down upon the artificiality of civilization. Romantic novels also focus on the psychological and emotional changes in their characters. The Scarlet Letter takes place nearly 200 years before it was written, which is the perfect foundation for a Romantic novel, since they often embrace the past. Hawthorne uses the motif of civilization (rules and repression) vs. the wilderness (individual freedom) to express his disapproving attitude towards the artificiality of Puritan civilization. In the sad, despotic Puritan society, people must conceal their true selves to evade public humiliation and punishment, however, the wilderness, although an evil place to the Puritans, personal introspection and individual freedom may be achieved. The fact that Hawthorne uses nature as the scene for wonderful things to transpire also keeps in touch with the Romantic principles because they tend to glorify the beauty of unspoiled nature. Hester Prynne is a Romantic role-model because she undergoes much emotional turmoil but emerges a strong, independent, experienced, and free individual whose identity is determined, not by puritan society, but by herself. Lastly, The Scarlet Letter is representative or Romanticism because it revolves around the characters psychological changes. Hester becomes stronger/tougher, Chillingworth becomes twisted/evil and bent on revenge, and Dimmesdale becomes consumed with guilt. Overall, this novel embodies many Romantic aspects and applies them to create a memorable tale.
Alexandra, I agree with your views on how the Scarlet Letter represents Romantic literature. Your statements on how civilization is viewed as having only rules and repression and how the wilderness as the embodiment of freedom are both true. I also agree that Hester is a great example of a Romantic role-model because she does become a person not shaped by Puritan society, but by her inner experience. The Scarlet Letter truly is a work of Romantic literature.
@Alexandra, I completely agree with you that The Scarlet Letter is a powerful piece of Romantic literature. I like how you connected the Romantics' admiration of nature with the setting of the forest in the novel as a place where there is freedom and people's true selves are exposed. I also like how you said that Hawthorne's disdain for the hypocrisy of Puritan society was shown through Dimmesdale concealing his true self in order to avoid humiliation and punishment. You wrote a very good response.
@Alexander Hazell, I definitely agree with your standpoint on how Romanticism is thoroughly displayed within several aspects of the novel. The characteristics you point out, including the idea of how "personal introspection and individual freedom may be achieved," is evident through Hester, the main Romantic role-model. I also agree on how the characters psychological changes are a representative of Romanticism. You deserve an "A" for being "Able" to write a wonderful response!
Throughout the entirety of the novel, The Scarlet Letter exhibits a ranged trajectory of romantic elements, of which comprise of internal intuition over cultivation. Given that the novel is set during the times of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Puritan settlement, numerous allusions are fabricated in lieu of inner experience and descriptions – religion/faith being a component of Romanticism. Furthermore, that fact that the timeset is in the remote past relative to Hawthorne’s time makes it a romantic work. The central psychology of characters is delved into concerning imagination and the unearthed truth as a result of it. Pearl directly represents this attribute for her “unusual” behavior and symbolic character per se contributes to Hester’s realization of her sin. Going hand in hand with Pearl's representation is how her innocence is favored over proper education, which is desired by the church officials. Natural beauty is evident through Hester and the scenery, which doesn’t include setting tainted by restricted civilization. Such a case unfolds in the situation between being able to attain personal freedom to develop spiritually and morally in the wilderness rather than the cloud of an iniquity-seeking community when in town. In sum, The Scarlet Letter exemplifies that of romantic literature through nature-inclined and inward expression and ultimately, the interior mechanisms of an individual.
@Alexandra Hazell, lol :-)Disregarding my attempt to spite, your response wields solid support for how The Scarlet Letter represents romantic literature. The connections flow well and your wording concerning the effects of Puritan society is en pointe.