Theme Of Vegetation Imagery In The Scarlet Letter

723 Words 3 Pages
Honors American Lit. B
The Scarlet Letter Pathway Paper – 694 words April 23, 2013

Throughout The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne uses vegetation imagery in correlation with his ideas about sinful nature and god. When describing the prison in the very beginning of the novel, Hawthorne writes, “a grass-plot, much overgrown with… such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison” (45-46). Hawthorne uses the imagery of a black flower to depict the sinful nature of humans as it was inevitable that even in this new flourishing society the people there saw the need to build a prison. This vivid image also relates to the Puritan’s harsh view on sin in the community. Throughout the novel Hawthorne frequently criticizes the Puritan society, this being another example, “but the proprietor appeared already to have relinquished, as hopeless, the effort to perpetuate on this side of the Atlantic, in a hard soil and amid the close struggle for subsistence, the native English taste for ornamental gardening” (97). The description of the Governor’s ornamental garden shows the garden failing, as if the person caring for it had given
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Sin is again depicted as lifelessness in this passage, for Dimmesdale has sinned, and not confessed; therefore he is concerned that god will reject him. Hawthorne clearly writes with a style of dark romanticism epitomized through his description of sin in the beginning of the novel as inexorable in every society. Hawthorne also reflects his religious views and those of his times period in the way he sees god and nature as one, similar to the ideas of Pantheism, a belief in the manifestation of god through nature. Hawthorne frequently links god to nature as seen when Hester calls to nature, as if calling to god, for forgiveness, “’Thou shalt forgive me!’ cried Hester, flinging herself on the fallen leaves beside him” (175). While nature symbolizes sin, it also symbolizes the comforting and forgiving appearance of god. In relation to the bible, “…the yellow leaves will show no vestige of the white man’s tread” (178), the yellow leaves reference the scripture Isaiah 43:25, which reads, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” displaying the tie between

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