Steinbeck Vs. Hawthorne John Steinbeck's Research Paper

Total Length: 1676 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

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Finally, redemption is possible and is achieved by some: when Hester, Pearl and Dimmesdale all stand on the public scaffold, Dimmesdale falls fatally ill and Pearl kisses him, the spell of sinfulness is broken for them (Hawthorne 175), while Chillingworth "positively withered up, shrivelled away and almost vanished from mortal sight" because his plan to destroy Dimmesdale were simultaneously broken (Hawthorne 175). In sum, Puritan religious views are highly influential in Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter. However, Steinbeck's Cannery Row is not at all concerned with formal religion's concepts of sin, guilt, alienation and redemption.

3. Conclusion

John Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Nathaniel Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter reveal views of humanity that are very much alike in at least one respect and quite different in at least another respect. Both authors extensively use paradox to describe their characters and therefore speak to the complexity of human beings. In Steinbeck's characters of Doc, Mac and Nora, we are given a multitude of paradoxes used to show the richness of humanity. Hawthorne also uses paradoxes to describe his main characters of Hester Prynne, Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth.
Consequently, both Steinbeck and Hawthorne obviously believe humanity is complex. However, the authors widely differ in their views of humanity in that Steinbeck does not appeal to the divine while Hawthorne does. Possible due to his 20th Century Episcopalian-then-agnostic views, Steinbeck does not dwell on established religious views of humanity. Hawthorne, on the other hand, was a 19th Century Puritan and recluse who imposed heavily oppressive Puritan notions of sin, guilt, alienation and redemption on his characters. Consequently, while both authors are highly skilled, Steinbeck's Cannery Row is a humorous satire of humanity while Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter is a dark journey into the depths of human sinfulness, guilt, alienation and painful redemption.


Benson, Jackson J. John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1990. Print.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter (Dover Thrift Study Edition). Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2009. Print.

Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ames, IA: University of Iowa Press, 1991. Print.

Railsback, Brian. "Dreams of an Elegant Universe on Cannery Row." Ed.….....

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