The Scarlet Letter (Forest)

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The Mysterious Forest

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, life is centered around a rigid Puritan society. In this society, people are not allowed to express their true thoughts and feelings. Every human being needs the opportunity to express how they truly feel; otherwise the emotions become bottled up until they begin to hurt the person. Unfortunately, the puritans were not allowed this type of expression. Luckily, at least for the four main characters, Hawthorne has created a forest to give them shelter. The forest offers a sanctuary from the harshness of Puritan life, symbolizes the character of Pearl and represents evil. The forest offers a sanctuary from the harshness of everyday Puritan life. In the forest, many pivotal characters can bring forth hidden emotions and thoughts. The forest trail leads characters away from the Puritan settlement, and out into the dense and dark forest. This seems to be the only escape for the Puritans in the novel. This is the only place where the people can be free from Puritan law and code. It is here, in the forest that Dimmesdale can express his deep love for Hester and where she can do the same for him. The forest is a place where freedom can be established. Here, nobody watches to report misbehavior, as they do in the settlement. Here, people may do as they wish. The forest seems to beg Hester, “Throw off the shackles of law and religion, come to me and be matterless”(Hawthorne 176). She takes advantage of the forest’s “offer” when she meets up with Dimmesdale. She openly talks with Dimmesdale about subjects that would never be mentioned in any other place but the forest. As they sit on a moss bed, Hester tells Dimmesdale “What we did…” Hester reminds him, “Had a consecration of its own. We felt it so, we said that to each other”(Hawthorne 186)! Shocked, Dimmesdale quickly hushes her, for this is the first time they...
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