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Puritanical Principles

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Lekha Ravichandran Period O 2/18/09 Puritanical Principals Although Puritanism had some appealing points such as creating a successful community of individuals dedicated to follow idyllic principles, it also exhibited several very constraining points such as suppressing free will through strict and merciless consequences. The Puritans had a very typological view which help shaped their lives and conception of history. Religion controlled almost all aspects of their life where they tried to maintain a community in which people strictly abided by certain laws and punished all who disobeyed these guidelines. Hawthorne criticizes the Puritan society in the Scarlet Letter. In describing the first scaffold scene he writes, "it could have betokened nothing short of the anticipated execution of some noted culprit, on whom the sentence of a legal tribunal had but confirmed the verdict of public sentiment,"(45). This setting reveals that the whole crowd was there to witness a ruthless public punishment and portrays the beliefs of the Puritans at that time. ...read more.


a by-word through the world...and cause...Curses upon us."(2) Winthrop's reprimanding tone indicates that only Puritanism was accepted and that their society was very secluded and not diverse. It was confining because the punishments were harsh and they encouraged a very restrictive lifestyle. The goal that the Puritans were trying to attain was perfection. The Letter "A", which was a mark of punishment, in Scarlet Letter was a way for the townspeople to maintain their "perfect society" in place and separate themselves from the rest of the world. They believed that they were God's chosen people and John Winthrop stresses this point in his argument. He declares the community to be "members of the same body, so shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace."(2) The author seems to feel that a model society must be established where everyone co-exists peacefully with God and each other. ...read more.


The Puritans wanted to please God and these lines imply their belief that every aspect of life was shaped by the Lord. The speaker also refers to God when stating "my distaff make for me" (Line 2) and "Make me Thy loom then, knit therein this twine" (Line 7). By depicting God as a spinster, the speaker is offering his soul. He wishes to be seen as worthy in God's eyes so that, in turn, God will pave his ways with glory. While the Puritans during that time had good intentions, their methods of carrying out their principles were misguided. In fact, they ended up hurting their society through this system of trying to obtain and maintain their idea of "perfection." But it is human nature to make mistakes. This is seen in the Scarlet Letter, when Mr. Dimmesdale was portrayed as being opposed to the harsh laws based on Puritanical principles - even though he was a revered preacher in the town. Although certain characteristics of their religion were appealing, their method of implementing their beliefs resulted in a very constrained and confined society. ...read more.

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