The Forest And The Puritan Forest In The Scarlet Letter

1286 Words 6 Pages
Cate Blatchford
October 27, 2016
Ms. Stephens
Scarlet Letter Essay

The Forest vs the Puritan Town

It is important for people to have a right to express themselves and not feel like they are being judged in their own society. In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the depiction of how the Puritan society limits the people’s thoughts and feelings is portrayed throughout the book. For Hester and Dimmesdale, the two major characters in the book, there is a place away from the town where they can express themselves and their deepest secrets: the forest. The forest is a major symbol and acts as a foil to the perfectly structured Puritan community. The forest is portrayed as a place of truth and recognition as opposed
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In the town, society imposes serious strict rules and expectations, where people are judged if they do something wrong. For Hester, committing a crime of adultery brings shaming and punishment from all of society. One woman says, “At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne’s forehead” (49). Many people in the community think that Hester’s punishment of being publicly shamed is not enough, and she should be given a harsher punishment, one that cannot be easily covered the way her scarlet letter can be. Because of her sin, she is questioned rights many other citizens would usually have such as caring for her own child. Even while Hester and Pearl attend church, they are made fun of and their names and wrongdoings are mentioned. “Over and over again, the temper of souls had thrust this idea upon Hester’s contemplation, and laughed at the passionate and desperate joy with which she seized, and then strove to cast it from her” (73). This chronic harassment will not be forgotten about, it is simply the way …show more content…
With this refuge, there is a sense of exemption from following rules and holding back. It represents nature, foreshadowing the character 's actions and reflecting their feelings and behavior. “She thought of the dim forest, with its little dell of solitude, and love, and anguish, and the mossy tree trunk. . .” (208). It represents the epitome of a corrupt Puritan society where rules do not exist and scorning is mythical. The forest is a place where freedom can be settled and no one is turned away based on their social status. It is a place of disorganization and disarray, unlike the strictly structured community on the other side of the trees. “She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate” (174). The way the forest is described gives us a dreary, unwelcoming picture, covered with moss and hanging branches. This gives off the vibe of a haunted, secret place which reflects how it is used; as a place secrets are revealed. This dark refuge is an important symbol in understanding the dark and deep connections the forest has with the

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