The Scarlet Letter Forest Essay Research Paper

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The Scarlet Letter (Forest) Essay, Research Paper 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 have mentioned this issue. He eventually realizes that he is in a safe environment. Here in the forest they can throw away all of the laws and be themselves. The forest provides an umbrella of security for the main characters. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, the forest symbolizes Pearl. Pearl and the forest go hand in hand. One of Pearls favorite activities is playing with the flowers and trees. The puritans believe

that anything associated with the forest is evil, so Pearl must have has a little spark in her. Hawthorne says, And she was gentler here than in the grassy-margined streets of the settlement, or in her mothers cottage. The flowers appeared to know it (194). Pearl obviously fit in with natural things. Like the forest, Pearl is mysterious and wild. The forest, being the mysterious place that it is, represents Pearl in the novel because she is not fully understood. It is difficult to tell why she does certain things, and what she is thinking when she does them. When strangers in the town spoke to Pearl, she would not answer them. Instead She gazed intently, but never sought to make acquaintance (Hawthorne 96). Often times, Puritan children would gather around her, they were curious

and wanted to interact with her. Instead of speaking to them, she would shout at them, She snatched up stones and flung them at the innocent children (Hawthorne 95). Hawthorne describes Pearl as almost witch-like, With shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble because they had so much the sound of a witches anathema s in some unknown tongue (96). Nobody understood her or why she did such awful things. Pearl was also wild like the forest, The child could not be made amenable to the rules (Hawthorne 93). She often threw flowers at her mothers A . In the forest, Pearl would run wild, she would swing in-between trees and lay in the tall grass. She had vigor and natural dexterity (Hawthorne 92). The Puritan society was not the place for pearl. They were not ready