The symbolism of the forest in the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne

List of symbols in the scarlet letter

Inside the good minister, however, is a storm raging between holiness and self-torture. There are several symbols that Hawthorne uses to give meaning to the people, places, and things throughout the story. Sin and its acknowledgment humanize Dimmesdale. They freely begin to talk about starting a new life with each other as a family, and Hester slowly starts to become blissful. Dimmesdale's inner struggle is intense, and he struggles to do the right thing. The forest represents freedom and darkness hidden inside the Puritan society. Thus, using his characters as symbols, Hawthorne discloses the grim underside of Puritanism that lurks beneath the public piety. As time goes by and Dimmesdale becomes more frail under the constant torture of Chillingworth, the community worries that their minister is losing a battle with the devil himself. The novel is also said to be the greatest accomplishment of American short story and is viewed as the first American psychological novel, which makes Hawthorne win an incomparable position in American Literature. Or take the brook that Pearl plays with: All these giant trees and boulders of granite seemed intent on making a mystery of the course of this small brook; fearing, perhaps, that, with its never-ceasing loquacity, it should whisper tales out of the heart of the old forest whence it flowed, or mirror its revelations on the smooth surface of the pool. The collective community that watches, at beginning and end, is a symbol of the rigid Puritan point of view with unquestioning obedience to the law. He will be able to give his Election Sermon and "fulfill his public duties" before escaping. This idea is displayed throughout The Scarlet Letter to portray how Puritans lived under the constant repression of the Puritan society. As most can imagine, Hester must feel multitudes of stress and self-hatred by being marked with the A, and as a result, wants to find a safe and quiet place to escape. Secondly, the forest also manages to bring out the natural personalities of the characters.

Hawthorne has a perfect atmosphere for the symbols in The Scarlet Letter because the Puritans saw the world through allegory. The sun is the symbol of untroubled, guilt-free happiness, or perhaps the approval of God and nature.

The community initially sees the letter on Hester's bosom as a mark of just punishment and a symbol to deter others from sin. Then, down he sank upon the scaffold! When he leaves the forest and realizes the extent of the devil's grip on his soul, he passionately writes his sermon and makes his decision to confess.

Even as the beadle — an obvious symbol of the righteous Colony of Massachusetts — proclaims that the settlement is a place where "iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine," the colony, along with the Reverend Mr.

God knows; and He is merciful!

What does the scarlet letter symbolize

For, Hester, I am a dying man. Generally speaking, a symbol is something used to stand for something else. Or take the brook that Pearl plays with: All these giant trees and boulders of granite seemed intent on making a mystery of the course of this small brook; fearing, perhaps, that, with its never-ceasing loquacity, it should whisper tales out of the heart of the old forest whence it flowed, or mirror its revelations on the smooth surface of the pool. Here we find Dimmesdale being helped by Hester and Pearl to mount the scaffold of his final confession one might even say, in proper context, being helped to carry his cross. Objects, such as the scaffold, were ritualistic symbols for such concepts as sin and penitence. The middle of the novel is a transition period, where the scarlet letter "A" is viewed differently The feelings of the lovers, weighed down by guilt, are reflected in the darkness of nature. It also allows the characters to become themselves again. At worst, Dimmesdale is a symbol of hypocrisy and self-centered intellectualism; he knows what is right but has not the courage to make himself do the public act. But Pearl reminds her mother that the sun will not shine on the sinful Hester; it does shine, however, when Hester passionately lets down her hair. Darkness is always associated with Chillingworth.

All of this evidences a changed heart and a saved soul for the man who had been the very embodiment of revenge. Hawthorne uses sunshine in the novel to symbolize purity and hope several times throughout the book.

The scaffold is used as a place of repentance and judgment by God.

symbolism in the scarlet letter

The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and crucial symbols. The main device he uses in the novel is symbolism. Even though it is for a short period of time, the forest gives her the audacity to be herself again.

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Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter