The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the setting of the country plays a significant role in both the characterization of Hester, the protagonist, and in the development of the work as a whole. It was only when Hester was banished to the country in isolation that she was able to achieve enlightenment--and it was only when Hester reached enlightenment that the other characters were able to grow as well. The country setting also served to establish the values of the novel--the country is depicted as a place where such virtues as modesty, wisdom, and love are held in high regard. After Hester gives birth to her illegitimate child, Pearl, the townspeople decide to punish her by sending her away, to live in the country (far removed from town) with only her child for company. Their intention was that she would have time by herself to think on her guilt and repent her sin--but she did quite the opposite. She grew to be a strong, independent woman without any need of society’s blame or forgiveness. The country setting played a pivotal role in her growth as a character--living away ...
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