Many different literary works contain complex representations that can be interpreted in many different ways. Authors portray these representations through the use of characters, objects, the setting, and much more. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the forest around the society represents different things, depending on who is there. It is an open place where anything can happen. It is filled with wild animals, Native Americans, and other wild threats to the townspeople. The forest gives off a different meaning to the people of the town. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne exhibits these meanings in many scenarios.
To the townspeople, the forest is an unknown place and is extremely different from the town. The town is fully led by the influence of religion and the laws of God. Meanwhile, the forest is a place of emotion and passion. The forest can be a type of sanctuary where people can go and let all of their feelings out, but the townspeople of afraid of it. In the wilderness, there are no laws so people are able to express their emotions. The forest represents Hester in a way because they are both outcasts and people stay away from them. After Hester committed adultery, no person wanted to speak with her or even be near her. On page 183, Hawthorne says, “She has wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest.” Hester is limited to only a couple of people when she needs help or guidance and she has to do that while raising her daughter Pearl. She is forced to live in the shadows of society, like the “shadowy right and wrong. If Hester emerges from the shadows, she will be humiliated and blamed for her sin. Also, Hester’s little...
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...les and if you violate them, you will most definitely be punished. They see Dimmesdale as a figure of public approval, Chillingworth, at least initially, as a man of learning to be revered, and Hester as the outcast. The community represents a world of black and gray and gloomy. However, the forest, may be thought to be the home of the devil, but is also full of colors and emotion. Here, both Hester and Pearl can express themselves for who they are, not what society sees them as. The forest represents a natural world, governed by natural laws, as opposed to the artificial, Puritan community with its man-made laws. The forest is a symbol of the world of darkness and evil. When Dimmesdale leaves the forest with his escape plan in mind, he is tempted to sin on numerous occasions during his journey back to the village. The forest, then, is a symbol of man 's temptation.
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