The Settings of the Scarlet Letter

Topics: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Sin Pages: 3 (976 words) Published: April 27, 2012
Settings of Scarlet Letter
The settings in The Scarlet Letter are very important in displaying the themes of the novel. The settings in this novel are almost characters, for they are an important part in developing the story. The scaffold, the forest, the prison, and Hester’s cottage are settings that show sin and its consequences result in shame and suffering.

The scaffold shows how the punishment imposed on us by others may not be as destructive as the guilt we impose on ourselves. When Hester was standing on the scaffold she is not thinking about being punished. She is having flashbacks to earlier times and feeling guilty for what she had done. The scaffold is a platform used for redemption and a symbol of the harsh Puritan code. Hester's punishment for her sin of adultery is to wear the letter A on the outside of her dress and stand on the scaffold in front of the whole town to see her and her baby. By using the scaffold as a place where Hester is sentenced to stand for punishment and a place for repentance the author symbolizes the importance of this setting.

The forest is a representation of how deception and secrecy can be destructive. The forest is a symbol of darkness and despair where evil is. In Puritan times, the forest is evil and nothing good can come from it. The forest is a sense of freedom that the people could not find in the town. The strict codes of the Puritans is not allowing the people to do what they want, so instead of breaking the law in public they go to the forest and be free from all laws. The forest is a place where the people do as they pleased. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest and devise a plan to escape the town and move to England. This is an important event in this setting because it would mean that Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl could live a normal happy life in England away from their sin. This means that Dimmesdale would not confess his sin, and confessing his sin is the only thing that can save him. Another...
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