The Symbolism of the Forest in The Scarlet Letter Essay

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“She had wandered, without rules or guidance, in a moral wilderness: as vas, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest” (180). Nature plays an essential part in this American Romance novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. The forest is a prominent factor symbolizing many ideas about nature’s relationship with man, as an individual and a society. The narrator does so by simply narrating about events and characters before, during and after the forest scenes. The narrator also displays the people’s feelings towards the forest and nature in general. The forest as a symbol helps the book develop the literary devices of theme, mood, and irony in The Scarlet Letter.
The forest represents a refuge from society for Hester Prynne and Minister Dimmesdale. At the same time, it symbolizes nature’s role as a shelter from society. This adds to the themes that society as a whole is morally deprived and nature is essentially good. It becomes a place where they are unshackled from Puritans’ strict law that is corrupted. Once under the forest’s shelter, they are then permitted to meet and speak heart fully to one another. Moreover, Prynne resides in the outskirts of Boston in the forest area. By doing so, Prynne is demitting everyday direct contact with the other town’s people. This adds to the two themes by making the readers view the forest as a mother trying to protect Hester and Dimmesdale from society’s wickedness.
The forest additionally symbolizes the relationship in which native serves as a place of empowerment for individuals. This also adds to those the themes. The forest is a symbol of Prynne and Dimmesdale’s empowerment in the truth, hope and love. Upon their meeting in the forest, both feel positively changed as qu...

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... Pearl the reader is reminded that Pearl is a mystic character. She leads the way towards the truth with her words and actions. Pearl in the forest knows that Dimmesdale must confront the townspeople with his sin. She foreshadows this truth by not accepting happily Dimmesdale’s affectations by means of kissing Pearl. Reaffirming the forest as a symbol of truth, the narrator uses the forest to develop the characters of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl.
The forest is a key part of the novel as the serving as a symbol. It symbolizes nature’s relationship with man as a place of refuge and as a place of empowerment. The forest in the book symbolizes hope, love, and truth. Utilizing the forest, Hawthorne is able to develop the literary devices: theme, mood, irony, and character.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam, 1986. Print.

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