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Essay about Symbolism Of The Forest In The Scarlet Letter

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, the forest means different things to different people. To the honorable and respectable members of Puritan , the forest is an evil and frightening place where witches lurk and the devil resides. To Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale, two people unable to speak their minds in Puritan community, the forest offers a place of refuge where they can be true with each other. To Pearl, the forest. The symbolism of the forest setting’s inherently good and bad natures offer a deeper insight into the emotional complexity of Hawthrone’s characters.

The inherently bad characters and dark events that take place in the forest reveal that the setting itself is a symbol of evil. The forest is something very much despised by the majority of Puritans in the novel, and Hawthrone uses this as a method for creating a dark place, away from Puritan society, for all evil in the novel to reside in. The forests’ most frequent visitors, the Black Man, Mistress Hibbins, and Hester, embody just how evil the place is.

From his first mention in the novel, the Black Man, has made a reoccurring appearance as a spiritual of the Devil in Puritan society that is responsible for much of the fear of forests in the novel. According to Hawthrone, the Black Man lurks around the forest, “… write their names with their own blood in a big heavy book, with iron clasp to fasten its pages shut. ” (Hawthrone 161). If the devil, the ultimate symbol of evil resides in the forest, than that makes the forest inherently evil.

The forest is full of evil and Mistress Hibbins and Hester, demonstrate the evil that exists. In many ways, Hawthrone uses the forest as a symbol for evil. The woods are the physical location where Forests in this novel symbolizes evil, or more specifically a place of evil doings and secrets. While the forests in this novel to symbolize a place of evil, however, it is this evil setting that shapes and defines the characters of the novel. It is a place of evil and disdain where “bad” people reside.

From its first mention in the novel, the forest is portrayed as a place of lawlessness and mystery, as demonstrated by its most frequent visitors, the witches, and the Black Man that Inhabits it. The Puritans either feared or looked down upon everything in the forest. In contrast to the symbolic evil that the forests represent, Hawthrone uses the forest setting as a safe shelter for outcast members of Puritan society to take refuge in. The shelter that the forests create act as a safe stronghold away from civilization where people can freely talk about their feelings.

While Hester and Arthur Dimmesdale are in their isolated encampment of nature, Dimmesdale is able to confess that, “Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain—so tender to soothe! ” (Hawthrone ) The Puritan minister could not tell Hester about his love for her anywhere else out of fear of the reactions from his brethren people. It is only in the dark, concealed portions of the forest, that many of the characters are able to bring forth their hidden thoughts and emotions, and in this case the forest brought about a warm, powerful emotion, love.

Puritan law restricts Pearl from being able stand beside her family and talk freely about them in public, and when she tries, Hester reminds her to “Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl … We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest. ” (Hawthrone 208). It is only in the woods that the family can express their love for each other because the forests are not subjected to rules of Puritan law. The Puritans despise the forests, and all things in it, and this creates the opportunity for a family enslaved by Puritan law to be happy.

Love, freedom, and family are three good things brought about by the evil forests. Puritan law restricts Pearl from being able to freely talk about her family in public. In Pearl’s eyes the forest has a totally different concept. To Pearl the forest is like a best friend. It treats her as if she were one of its own. The animals do not runaway at her ever move, instead they come to her with open arms. The light is chasing her no matter where she goes. She is able to run and play freely to her innocent hearts content. She can do ;;that because her heart is innocent and the forest recognizes that.

Family love. Bastard. The forest setting played a vital role in the story by affecting and describing every one of the characters in novel. Nature had assisted the narrator in portraying the different state of minds the characters were in, and was effectively used as a literary device in these scenarios. Without nature, The Scarlet Letter could not portray the story as much intensity of feverency as it could with nature. Nature has been brilliantly wounded into a story of sin and passion to flawlessly execute a great tale

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