Theme Of Forest In The Scarlett Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlett Letter illustrates his expertise of style in his portrayal of a sanctimonious period of American history in the mid-seventeenth century. Taking place in a strict Puritan colony in New England, Hawthorne displays the brutal, unforgiving, and ultimately fatal impact a single indiscretion has on three characters in the colony: Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne uses powerful symbols and motifs to convey a character's behavior, attitude, a foreshadowing of one's fate, and even flashbacks of past events. By cleverly utilizing the forest as a place of refuge, Hawthorne suggests the forest serves as a place for empowerment, development, and an escape …show more content…
Unencumbered by traditions, without judgement, and open to all, the forest "[has] passes of the dark, inscrutable open forest… where the wildness of [one's] nature might assimilate itself with a people whose customs and life were alien from the law that had condemned [one]" (73). Hawthorne demonstrates that the forest is a place where people are not judged or convicted but are free to live as they wish, away from the cherished ideas and traditions of the Puritan faith and its followers; the forest offers an escape without having to hide from one's past, where you are not required to change the opinions of others and you are not condemned to a life of isolation. In addition, Hawthorne suggests that one can flourish and exhibit their uniqueness here. In the forest, Hester courageously takes off her scarlet letter A, even though she is supposed to wear it, as if tattooed on her body, for the rest of her life as eternal punishment for committing adultery. Upon removing the scarlet letter, Hester frees herself from violation, "the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit" (182). The scarlet A inflicts extreme pain, guilt, and loneliness upon Hester, and by using words like "anguish," Hawthorne displays the letter not only affects Hester mentally, but also physically - the A has a deteriorating effect on Hester causing her to feel …show more content…
It enables Hester to confidently and courageously remove the scarlet A from her chest, significantly reducing both the physical and mental pain she suffers. Moreover, the forest awakens several hidden talents and characteristics which have previously laid dormant, such as new forms of beauty and happiness, for both Hester and Pearl. Even three hundred years later from The Scarlet Letter, in today's world, society still judges and shames people for their actions, possibly even more harshly. As a result, we too utilize special places, like forests and other secluded areas, in order to escape from society's rules, biases, and

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