Boston’s Puritan society of the mid 1600’s feared the near-bye forest. Believing that “the black man that haunts the forest” (71) and that the witches who do the devil’s work there, the townspeople are warned to stay away the sinful place. Another reason why the Puritans may have discouraged people from entering the forest was because it was an isolated setting in which no one could spy on its visitors. This completely goes against Puritan values which encourages gossip and spying in order to prevent sin. Yet some like the forest for this exact reason, finding it a safe place to escape.
Banished from the Puritan society for committing adultery, Hester Prynne is considered an outcast, “outlawed from society”(189). With her illegitimate daughter Pearl, Prynne moves with her daughter to the outskirts of the community at the mouth of the forest. It is there in their own secluded life that they are free, not subjected to the regular ridicule and embarrassment that they usually experience in their strict Puritan town. Unknown to the town was the identity of Pearl’s father, Arthur Dimmesdale, who was both a respected and revered reverend and “the head of the [Puritan] social system”(189). Their “sin of passion” (190) caused him to believe that his soul was “irrevocably doomed” (189) causing him to commit self inflicted punishments. They had Pearl behind Prynne’s husband, who was out of the country at the time. Unawa...
... middle of paper ...
... clouds” (140) has been restored. Usually solemn with an ‘old soul,’ Pearl’s youth is also revealed. When outside of the Puritan community, the sun always shines on Pearl, symbolizing joy, cheer, and a sense of normalcy. Only when Prynne rids herself of the A and frees her hair does the sun shine on her, providing her with a blissful escape.
Puritan society’s stifling nature removes not only privacy, yet also a freedom and true happiness from its inhabitants. The bias of this community forced Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale to lead a life of misery and secrecy. Yet, it was only in the forest where they could live their ‘immoral’ lives in peace and express their love for each other without the scrutiny of their peers. Therefore, Hawthorne uses the forest to contradict Puritan life, and instead symbolize a paradise in which only the truth exists.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “She had wandered, without rules or guidance, in a moral wilderness: as vas, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest” (180). Nature plays an essential part in this American Romance novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. The forest is a prominent factor symbolizing many ideas about nature’s relationship with man, as an individual and a society. The narrator does so by simply narrating about events and characters before, during and after the forest scenes. The narrator also displays the people’s feelings towards the forest and nature in general.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter Essays]
923 words (2.6 pages)
- The Scaffold and Forest in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's work, The Scarlet Letter, focuses on the small Puritan community of Boston during the seventeenth century. In the center of the town is a " . . .weather darkened scaffold. . . (234)" where sinners are made to face the condemning public. The accused experience strange phenomena while on the scaffold - some become braver, some meeker. And whether the public is looking at them or not, they become their true selves on the scaffold.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
765 words (2.2 pages)
- The Scaffold Scenes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne?s The Scarlet Letter, the Puritans constantly look down upon sinners like Hester Prynne, both literally and symbolically. The use of the three scaffold scenes throughout the course of the novel proved to be an effective method in proving this theory and showing how Puritan society differs from that of today?s. In the first scaffold scene, Hester is being led from the prison where she has spent the last few months, towards the scaffold clutching her newborn baby to her bosom, covering the scarlet letter-the two symbols representing truth and her lost innocence.... [tags: Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne Essays]
879 words (2.5 pages)
- Imagery and Irony in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, uses a variety of literary techniques in order to produce energy and invoke the interest of the reader. He creates the mood and the climax of the novel by using the techniques of imagery and irony. Yet, it is his use of symbolism that truly carries the novel. An abundance of symbolism appears in many different forms, adding interest to the novel. For instance, Hawthorne uses his characters, such as Pearl, as symbols; “It was the scarlet letter in another form, the scarlet letter endowed with life.” (Ch.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
906 words (2.6 pages)
- The Greatest Sinner in The Scarlet Letter Mankind is prone to some degree of sin. A question that has always plagued mankind is how one can achieve redemption from sin. Any sin becomes compounded when the perpetrator does not take responsibility for it. In the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, perhaps the greatest sinner was Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. Many of Hawthorne's works center around what is right or wrong, and the consequences of breaking the basic links between humans by committing acts of sin (Brown).... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1268 words (3.6 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses diction and symbolism to show the negative effects of stifling conformity verses the positive empowerment found in embarrassing one's own truth. He tries to impress upon his readers that an outsider, whether from another physical location, or simply someone who thinks and acts outside that society's definition of acceptable behavior can in fact facilitate positive change within that society. The secret in this novel most likely represents an idea, privacy, or even social censure.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
616 words (1.8 pages)
- Symbols in The Scarlet Letter In nearly every work of literature, readers can find symbols that represent feelings, thoughts or ideas within the text. Such symbols can be found in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne's book about an affair between a woman named Hester and a minister named Arthur Dimmmesdale is full of feelings of sin, guilt, hate, secrecy, and honesty. There are many symbols within the novel that can be interpreted to represent the key topics of the book. Each of these symbols is an important part of the story, and connects to the situations that occur around them. The main ideas of the novel are represented by recurring symbols in the... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1149 words (3.3 pages)
- The Relation between Pearl and Nature in The Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne's work, The Scarlet Letter, nature plays a very symbolic role. Throughout the book, nature is incorporated into the story line. One example of this is with the character of Pearl. Pearl is very different than all the other characters due to her special relationship with Nature. Hawthorne personifies Nature as sympathetic towards sins against the puritan way of life. Hester's sin causes Nature to accept Pearl.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter]
1051 words (3 pages)
- Pearl is The Scarlet Letter Pearl is the living embodiment of the scarlet letter because she forces Hester and Dimmesdale to accept their sins. The Puritan society looks at Pearl as a child of the devil, and a black hearted girl because she is the result of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale are both in the same situation in Pearl's eyes. Pearl wants Hester to realize that she is not the worst person in the world before she removes the scarlet letter. Pearl wants Dimmesdale to accept his sin, and be part of their life publicly.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
988 words (2.8 pages)
- Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter Symbolism plays an important role in the Scarlet Letter. The scarlet "A" is used to represent sin and anguish along with happiness. The "A" has different meanings to people other than what was originally intended. The scaffold is used as a place of repentance and judgment by God. Pearl is another major symbol used as a reminder of the scarlet letter. The scarlet "A" is the most important symbol in the Scarlet Letter. The letter "A" does not have a "universally symbolic relationship" with adultery.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1106 words (3.2 pages)