Nature And Society In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, like many romantic novels, opens the reader 's mind to many different views on the ideal life. The key details of the novel 's plot and character diversity are strategically used to show many different aspects to life. Two aspects that are repeatedly shown in the novel are the contrasts between nature and society. Hawthorne highlights several romantic ideas to emphasize the effect of nature’s purity and freedom on people in contrast with the corruption of community. Like many romantic writers, Hawthorne noticed the power of oneself and opened the mind to the power of nature, and imagination. In the Romantic novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne 's use of symbolism and imagery distinguishes between…show more content…
The town in which the novel takes place represents the evil Hawthorne sees within society. Life in the novel revolves around a rigid puritan society in which one is unable to be themselves. Immediately people are described as "A throng of bearded men, in sad coloured garments and grey steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and other bareheaded.." (Hawthorne, 1). Hawthorne 's description of the people of the town in the begins the story with a dull and ugly mood. The dark and simple clothing of the puritans surrounding the prison creates a mournful mood and foreboding tone. The author then strategically chooses to give expansive information on the prison 's gloomy appearance. "..the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes" gives an inevitable and discouraging vibe (Hawthorne, 1). It later describes, “...the wooden jail was marked with weather-stains and other indication of age, which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle browed and gloomy front" (Hawthorne 1). Such specific and detailed description connotes a tone of morbidity and despair similar to the puritan society Hawthorne sets the novel in. The ominous atmosphere is spread throughout the vegetation nearby as well. As, "Before this ugly edifice...was a grass-plot, much overgrown with burdock, pig-weed,…show more content…
For example, the scarlet letter is meant to be a punishment given to the main character, Hester. It is also an example of an issue started by the corrupt society that has a deeper meaning. She is forced to wear the symbol as a form of punishment for her loose behavior. With the "A" symbol comes a life of misery as anyone who sees her begins to stare and gossip. Although the scarlet letter is a symbol of adultery sin Hawthorne creates an image in the reader 's mind which is quite different. "On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter 'A. ' It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony" (Hawthorne 2). The scarlet letter starts off as a gigantic symbol that hides her, just as her feeling are hidden behind her sin. But in fact the scarlet letter becomes a representation of an opportunity for her to be an individual as she stands out with the letter on her chest. In result she can express how she feels and not bottle up
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