Control of Feeling

4 April 2015
A study of the texts “Leaves of Grass: Song of Myself,” by Walt Whitman, “Moby Dick,” by Herman Melville, and “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne to show society’s control of feeling.

The paper examines the poem Leaves of Grass: Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman, and the novels Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, and The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne to introduce, discuss, and compare the topic of social control of feeling as a powerful theme in the antebellum era. The paper shows that it is clear that each of these authors grappled with the dictates of society when they were writing, using a distinctive voice and technique to show their dislike of the lack of feeling and emotion that was acceptable to society at the time.
Hawthorne is not approving of adultery in this novel, he is condemning the practice of branding someone for life because of a past sin, and not allowing them to pay for their mistake in their own way, and continue with their lives. He is condemning society, who has no right to judge, when they have not confessed their own sins, which might be even worse. Again, it is partly a story about good and evil, and like Moby Dick, the roles are somewhat reversed. Hester Prynne is an adulteress, but it is clear from the book that she is not a bad woman, and does not lead a bad life. She raises her child of the union, Pearl, with love and affection.
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