The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1161 Words Dec 8th, 2015 5 Pages
The wilderness has always been a place of mystery and purity, a space uncharted and unfamiliar. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the wilderness acts as a place free from societal judgement, where characters can express their true personalities. Throughout the story forbidden meetings and revelations of truth take place in the forest, where people are free from the threat of prosecution by puritan beliefs. While the forest acts as this safe space, the town acts as its counterpart, being a place of judgement and exposure. The town in the Scarlet Letter is the epicenter of Hester 's suffering. The inhabitants of the town are Puritan, and believe Hester is a sinner as she is an adulterer. Hester’s punishment for her crime was to not only wear the scarlet letter, but to be presented on platform in front of the entire town with her child. As she stands on the platform, she is the observed by the entire town, “The witnesses of Hester Prynne 's disgrace had not yet passed beyond their simplicity. They were stern enough to look upon her death, had that been the sentence, without a murmur at its severity.” (pg 52) This act of shaming encapsulates stigma assigned to Hester by the townspeople, and how the townsfolk all take part in her shaming. This scene shows how judgmental and brutal the townspeople are, forcing a young mother to stand with her infant child and to be ridiculed by all who see her. The strict and merciless beliefs and punishments of the Puritan faith give…

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