Nathaniel Hawthorne is an author who often uses religion, guilt, and symbolism. He usually uses a lot of descriptions and gives enough information to provide the reader with a visual picture. His mind often turned to matters associated with human judgments on mortality, with guilt and its consequences (Turner). In the novel Hawthorne’s short stories he has a series of stories that have to do with things like suffering, honor, and religion. One good novel that deals with all of these things as well is The Scarlet Letter including loneliness, revenge, shame, and betrayal. Hawthorne is also known to strongly show Puritan beliefs. Hawthorne would search out moral implications, and whether he impaled his story with its moral or allowed the moral to reach the reader by subtler means. Hawthorne always considered this a moral essential to any sketch, tale, or novel (Turner 16).
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. A descendent from Puritans who participated in witch trials, which was rigid and forbidding (Wright 294). He spent most of his time doing extensive reading when he broke his leg at the age of nine and the later two years resulted “cursed habits of solitude” (Wright 4). He spent twelve years in “the chamber under the eaves” in his mother’s house which was of great importance in the sharpening of his mind (Turner 11). He went to Bowden College in 1821 near Portland, Maine and graduated after four years in 1825. It is said that Hawthorne died of a brain tumor due to suffering pain, weakness, and loss of control over his limbs (Wright 21).
Most of Hawthorne’s characters speak of sin, meaning of sin against divine law, but in the author’s point of view the characters suffer the consequences of guilt because they believe they have sinned, though it may be that the guilt exists only in their own minds (Turner 54). In the beginning of The Scarlet Letter the reader reads about a man returning to town after years to find a familiar looking woman with a baby on display wearing the letter "A" on her bosom. The letter symbolizes adultery as well as the child throughout the whole novel. Hester refuses to tell who the father is due to the fact that Dimmesdale is the preacher for the town, and that would only make him look bad. So while Hester is going through loneliness and shame, Dimmesdale is suffering seeing her as she is and for not having what it takes to confess. The reader finds out later that the man returning in the beginning is Hester's long lost husband Mr. Chillingworth. He ends up seeking for revenge on the father of Hester's baby. Pearl often calls Chillingworth the evil man because she notices things about people and can see that he is not a good man. Once Chillingworth finds out Dimmesdale is her father he goes to him to ask questions and continues to remind him of his sin to make Dimmesdale feel worse. Once Dimmesdale confesses his sin Chillingworth says "Thou hast escaped me!" (Scarlet Letter 173).