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Criticism Related to Indians in The Scarlet Letter

Criticism Related to Indians in The Scarlet Letter

A Gleam of Sunshine from chapter entitled "A Flood of Sunshine" in <I>The Scarlet Letter</I>
A Gleam of Sunshine from chapter entitled "A Flood of Sunshine" in The Scarlet Letter
 
In The Scarlet Letter Indians are peripheral one- dimensional stereotyped characters that are not overtly connected with the central characters, the Puritans, or the plot. Instead, mentions of their presences connect to imagery that is related to the wilderness, to being outcasts of society, to reminders of Chillingworth's captivity with them and to knowledge of the herbal remedies/poisons he gained from them. Each main character has a link to Indians and the wilderness. Dimmesdale, after visiting the Indians, temporarily loses the trappings of his religious piety. Chillingworth, a former captive of Indians, darkens the herbal healing arts he has learned from them by using them for evil purposes, associated
with the Black Arts. Hester lives on the fringe of society and chooses to stop short of banishing herself to live amongst the Indians where she would not be harshly judged, as she constantly is by the Puritans. Pearl symbolizes the freedom and oneness with the wilderness that the Indians have -- neither being tainted by the Puritans.
Criticism Related to Indians
Excerpts from chapters from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Durst Johnson (courtesy of Greenwood Press).



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