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Critical Commentary Related to Hawthorne and the Satanic

Critical Commentary Related to Hawthorne and Ideas of Good and Evil

Adam & Eve Fireback at the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site
Adam & Eve Fireback at the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site (courtesy of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site)
 
  • Excerpts from Margaret Moore's The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne (courtesy of the University of Missouri Press)
    Hawthorne's Salem background with the Doctrine of Original Sin is developed through excerpts from the scholarship of Margaret Moore's The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  • In Elizabeth Goodenough's "'Demons of Wickedness, Angels of Delight': Hawthorne, Woolf, and the Child" in Hawthorne and Women, edited by John L. Idol, Jr., and Melinda M. Ponder, another reference to Hawthorne and Original Sin appears. (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
  • Excerpts from Melissa McFarland Pennell's Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne
    In this excerpt Pennell refers to Original Sin and the title character of Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil". (courtesy of Greenwood Press)

  • Excerpt from Anthony Trollope's article "The Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne," The North American Review. Volume 129, Issue 274, September 1879
    British novelist Anthony Trollope offers a view of Hawthorne reminiscent of Melville's reference to Hawthorne's "blackness". Both Melville and Trollope found a quality in Hawthorne's stories that was deep and spiritual and transforming.
    Full text of article available online at: American Memory Project [note: this online article has numerous typos as it has not yet been edited from the OCR version]

  • Excerpt from "Bourgeois Sexuality and the Gothic Plot in Wharton and Hawthorne," by Monika M. Elbert. In Hawthorne and Women Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition, edited by John L. Idol Jr. and Melinda M. Ponder (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
    Here Monika M. Elbert offers some explanation as to why Hawthorne would have concerned himself with those who live on society's outskirts. The groups she cites share the experience of having wickedness ascribed to them and so, whatever faults they may have either as individuals or as members of a specific group, they nonetheless serve to reveal, in the treatment of others toward them, Hawthorne's sense that the judgment of others is itself the profoundest evil.

  • Excerpt from "The Scarlet Letter as Pre-Text for Flannery O'Connor's 'Good Country People,'" by John Gatta in Hawthorne and Women Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition edited by John L. Idol Jr. and Melinda M. Ponder (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
    John Gatta suggests that one of the ironies of The Scarlet Letter is that it is the torture Roger Chillingworth inflicts upon Arthur Dimmesdale that, in the end, leads the minister to his saving confession. Of particular interest here is Gatta's notion that Chillingworth's work is effected by breaking down Dimmesdale's "psychic defenses," that arrogance that kept him from confession in the first place.

  • Excerpt from "The Scarlet Letter as Pre-Text for Flannery O'Connor's 'Good Country People,'" by John Gatta in Hawthorne and Women Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition edited by John L. Idol Jr. and Melinda M. Ponder (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
    In a passage that strikingly places open hearted charity in direct opposition to "observation from an insulated standpoint," John Gatta connects Hawthorne himself with both of these contradictory impulses and so places him solidly in the Christian tradition.

  • Excerpt from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Johnson (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    Claudia Johnson reminds us that on January 14, 1697, five years after he was an eager advocate of hanging accused witches in Salem, Samuel Sewall apologized for his role in that shameful episode. She notices some strong similarities between Sewall's apology and Dimmesdale's confession, similarities that may reveal the bad faith that marred the spirits of both the historical and fictional characters.

  • Excerpt from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Johnson (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    Dimmesdale's decision to flee Boston with Hester and Pearl and so forever turn his back on confession--the single way he may redeem himself--is, according to Claudia Johnson, tantamount to his yielding to witchcraft.

  • Excerpt from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Johnson (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    Claudia Johnson makes it clear that Dimmesdale is not merely weak, but that his ambition places him among the ranks those who commit the sin of pride, that is among those who think of themselves before all others.

  • Excerpt from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Johnson (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    Claudia Johnson makes it clear that Dimmesdale's "dishonorable half-measure at attempting to confess" are in the end simply more cause for the devil to rejoice in his fall.

  • Excerpt from Melissa McFarland Pennell's Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    Melissa Pennell points out that Dimmesdale's hypocrisy is so deep and so well preserved by him that, even when he attempts to shed his false self and reveal the truth, many fail to believe he has sin. Thus the scrupulous construction of his seven-year lie robs him of the very relief he seeks in giving it up.

  • Excerpt from Melissa McFarland Pennell's Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
    In this passage, Melissa Pennell shows how Hawthorne makes use of names in The Scarlet Letter to indicate the moral status of his characters.




Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11407/


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