The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, has been interesting to say the least. I’m a pretty straightforward guy, I didn’t enjoy the majority of the book; the main reason for this being that there wasn’t a whole ton of plot. After 200 pages of drudgery, falling asleep while reading four or five times, and countless notes, the book finally picked up. Hawthorne wove everything together at the end, and it was only through intense scrutiny that I was able to understand the book. I enjoyed the last 30 pages, but they were so incredibly hard to get to. Despite the roller coaster of reading The Scarlet Letter, a pretty boring roller coaster to be honest, one main concept stood out to me: Puritan society.
If you read my previous post, you would know that I follow rules really well. It’s a sucky life, but it’s who I am. With this in mind, I would be a fabulous Puritan. I have four ancestors who rode the Mayflower. I can’t help it, it’s in my blood (I know the Puritans and Pilgrims are different, but they’re pretty similar). I would fit right into Puritan society. I often feel like a Puritan because I pursue perfection, and if I can’t be perfect I do my best to hide my imperfections. Thus when Hawthorne pointed out the hypocrisy of Puritan society, he was confirming something I already knew to be true. Striving for perfection, often but doesn’t always, lead to hypocrisy. This is how The Scarlet Letter has impacted me. Thanks Hawthorne, it’s good to know that I don’t need to be perfect. In fact, I believe you’re telling me it’s worse to reach for perfection.