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Hypocrisy in The Scarlett Letter and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Essay Example

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Hypocrisy in The Scarlett Letter and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Professor number Hypocrisy in The Scarlett Letter and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn One of the foremost themes of the novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin and The Scarlet Letter is the hypocrisy that is practised in the two civilizations that form the background of these novels and provide the historical templates on which the stories of the novel are based…
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Hypocrisy in The Scarlett Letter and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Download file to see previous pages... The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, on the other hand, is a critique of the lack of consistency in the moral and spiritual standards of the people of the southern states of America before the abolition of slavery. painting a realistic picture of the antebellum south, Mark Twain manages to bring to the notice of the reader the evils of the practice of slavery and the contradictions inherent in this system. The awareness regarding this social ill among the southerners is a testimony to the remarkable hypocrisy that they demonstrated when it came to issues regarding African Americans who were discriminated against and ill-treated because of the color of their skin. This was used against them and they were required to do a lot of unpaid work for the whites who considered themselves to be the repository of a great many beliefs that they considered noble and elegant. The coexistence of these beliefs with the practice of slavery is contradictory and hypocritical; this is precisely what the author seeks to say through his novel. The theme of hypocrisy in The Scarlet Letter is explored primarily through the critique of the Puritan establishment of New England. In the very beginning of the novel, Hawthorne introduces the hypocritical attitudes of the people who live in the nineteenth centuries and profess to be owners of great virtues but are interested in the same sensual activities as the others. In the chapter titled “The Custom-house”, Hawthorne uses irony as a tool to criticize the shallowness of the Puritan establishment of nineteenth century America (Subbu, 300). He thus seeks to establish a connection between the renegacy of the protagonist of The Scarlet Letter and himself in their acts of defiance towards the hypocritical attitudes of the Puritans, who failed to employ the same standards of virtue to everybody. The gluttony and the sloth of the members of the custom-house are remarkable since they are the very people who are against this in other people, at least in theory (Basu). However, it is this very discrepancy between theory and practice that is critiqued constantly in The Scarlet Letter. This discrepancy characterizes the relationship between Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale who is a priest in the Puritan establishment. Neither Hester nor Dimmesdale chooses to expose the secret behind the birth of Pearl and the puritan emblem of virtue, Dimmesdale, is fine with letting Hester bear the brunt of the punishment that is given by the society for the ‘crime’ of adultery. This exposes the hypocrisy that even people who were apparently of great moral rectitude could fall prey to in a puritan society where the appearance of virtue was more important than the actual presence of it in a person. This theme is something that Hawthorne explores even in the short stories that he has written. One such story would be Young Goodman Brown which reveals the presence of vice in the best of hearts in a puritan society that sought to repress even the basic human desires that a person was likely to have. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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