Essay on Scarlet letter6

This essay has a total of 1819 words and 7 pages.

scarlet letter6



Freedom within a Forest
Often in society people are placed under a microscope and criticized, punished, and
despised for their individual choices and flaws. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet
Letter, life is centered around a rigid Puritan society in which one is unable to divulge
his or her innermost thoughts and secrets. Every human being needs the opportunity to
express how he or she truly feels; otherwise the emotions are bottled up until they become
so compacted they erupt. Unfortunately, Puritan society does not permit this kind of
expression; thus characters must seek out alternate means to relieve their personal
anguishes and desires. Luckily for Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, Pearl, and Roger
Chillingworth, Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the form of the mysterious forest.
The forest is used to provide a shelter for members of society in need of a refuge from
daily life. The Scarlet Letter expresses how certain characters live and deal with
choices they have made and the consequences following their actions. Of these characters,
the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and his accomplice in sin, Hester Prynne are doomed to wear
their own marks of punishment for eternity. The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester
Prynne, ignoring their religious faith, fall blindly in to one night of temptation thus
producing a daughter, and simultaneously concealing half of the child’s identity to
protect her father’s respectable position and flawless reputation of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony. Although when Roger Chillingworth appears back in Hester’s life on the day of her
public humiliation punishment on the scaffold, she keeps his true identity a secret even
though his ultimate goal is to destroy Dimmesdale once he finds out who he is. In the
deep, dark portions of the forest, many of the pivotal characters bring forth hidden
thoughts and emotions. The forest track leads away from the settlement out into the
wilderness where all signs of civilization vanish. The forest is precisely the escape
from strict mandates of law and religion, to where men, as well as women, can openly be
themselves, acknowledge and confront issues that would not otherwise be discussed, and
rationalize their deed of sin.

The forest itself is the very embodiment of freedom. No one watches in the woods to
report misbehavior because it is here that people may do as they wish without answering
for their actions. It is here in the forest that Hester feels most comfortable and is
able to show a side of her that she keeps hidden in front of most people ever since she
was excluded from their society. “Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in
desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods (196).” From
one sinful night of passion, destiny is altered and reroute, thus complicating two lives,
but at the same time intertwining them together. Obviously Hester and Dimmesdale can not
be together under the circumstances of his position in the community and the sin that they
committed and now are hiding. “So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet
letter, and, taking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance among the withered leaves
(198).”

Although a simple feat, removing her clasp and letting her hair down, the real Hester whom
has been hiding beneath a shield of shame emerges once more. Tearing off and throwing
down the scarlet letter that jails her soul, Hester longs for the sorrowful emblem to
wither and die such as the leaves that have exceeded their life and now rest in their
grave underneath the feet of those who walk the forest floors. With the natural beauty
that embalms her, she relives for a short time as she and Dimmesdale converse in the woods
and for only a short while the two share a rare moment. Coming to life once more, Hester
awakens, recalling the feelings and emotions of her past before her punishment went into
effect. “All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring
a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow
fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees (199).” The
peaceful refuge conceals the “star-crossed” lovers and for a time allows them to be
together.

Puritan society is harsh and crippling to Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and their
daughter Pearl. The forest was created to give them a place to escape this cruel
community and express their true thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. It is here in the forest
that Hester openly acknowledges Dimmesdale and her true love for him. “With a sudden
desperate tenderness, she threw her arms around him, and pressed his head against her
bosom; little caring though his cheek rested on the scarlet letter (191).” Without being
preoccupied with the constraints that Puritan society places on them, Hester is able to
confess her feelings for Dimmesdale even though it is useless since nothing can come of
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