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The Scarket Letter- Puritan Society Essay, Research Paper

The Scarlet Letter & # 8211 ; Puritan Society

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne & # 8217 ; s The Scarlet Letter, life is centered

around a stiff Puritan society in which 1 is unable to unwrap his

or her innermost ideas and secrets. Every human being needs the

chance to show how he or she genuinely feels, otherwise the

emotions are bottled up until they become volatile. Unfortunately,

Puritan society did non allow this sort of look, therefore

characters had to seek surrogate agencies to alleviate their personal

torments and desires. Fortunately, at least for the four chief characters,

Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the signifier of the cryptic

wood. Hawthorne uses the wood to supply a sort of & # 8220 ; shelter & # 8221 ; for

members of society in demand of a safety from day-to-day Puritan life.

In the deep, dark parts of the forest, many of the pivotal

characters bring forth concealed ideas and emotions. The forest path

leads off from the colony out into the wilderness where all marks

of civilisation vanish. This is exactly the flight path from rigorous

authorizations of jurisprudence and faith, to a safety where work forces, every bit good as adult females,

can open up and be themselves. It is here that Dimmesdale openly

acknowledges Hester and his deathless love for her. It is besides here that

Hester can make the same for Dimmesdale. Finally, it is here that the

two of them can openly prosecute in conversation without being

preoccupied with the restraints that Puritan society topographic points on them.

The forest itself is the really incarnation of freedom. Cipher

tickers in the forests to describe misbehavior, therefore it is here that

people may make as they wish. To independent liquors such as Hester

Prynne & # 8217 ; s, the wilderness beckons her: Throw off the bonds of jurisprudence

and faith. What good have they done you anyhow? Look at you, a

immature and vivacious adult female, adult old before your clip. And no admiration,

hemmed in, as you are, on every side by prohibitions. Why, you can

barely walk without stumbling over one commandment or another. Come to

me, and be masterless. ( p.186 )

Truly, Hester takes advantage of this, when Arthur Dimmesdale

appears. She openly negotiations with Dimmesdale about topics which would

ne’er be mentioned in any topographic point other than the forest. & # 8220 ; What we

did & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; she reminds him, & # 8220 ; had a consecration of its ain. We felt it

so! We said to each other! & # 8221 ; This statement shocks Dimmesdale and he

Tells Hester to hush, but he finally realizes that he is in an

environment where he can openly show his emotions. The idea of

Hester and Dimmesdale holding an intimate conversation in the confines

of the society in which they live is inexplicable. Yet here, in

the forest, they can throw away all reluctance and eventually be

themselves under the umbrella of security which exists.

In Puritan society, self trust is stressed among many other

things. However, self trust is more than stressed- it is assumed.

It is assumed that you need merely yourself, and hence should hold

no emotional necessity for a & # 8220 ; shoulder to shout on & # 8221 ; . Once once more, for

people in the Stationss of life which Hester and Dimmesdale hold, it

would be unthinkable for them to soothe each other. Yet, in the

forest, these attentions are tossed off. & # 8220 ; Be thou strong for me, & # 8221 ;

Dimmesdale pleads. & # 8220 ; Rede me what to do. & # 8221 ; ( p. 187 ) This is a call for

aid from Dimmesdale, eventually acknowledging he can non travel through this

ordeal by himself. With this supplication comes an interesting kind of

role-reversal. When Dimmesdale asks for aid, he is no longer

prolonging the belief that he is above Hester. He is eventually acknowledging

that she is an equal, or even that she is above him. This is perchance

one of the grounds that Puritans won & # 8217 ; t accept these emotional

displays- because the society is so socially oriented. Hester,

presuming a new place of power, gives a heartfelt, traveling address.

The fluency of her words can non be overemphasized, and a more

powerful statement had yet to be made in the book. Hester & # 8217 ; s speech

turns out to bear a singular resemblance to one of Dimmesdale & # 8217 ; s

discourses. & # 8220 ; Begin all afresh! & # 8230 ; Preach! Write! Act! & # 8221 ; ( p. 188 ) The

inquiries she asks are besides like the articulate inquiries which

Dimmesdale would present during his discourses. The reply is obvious, yet

upon closer scrutiny they seem to give unexpected consequences. & # 8220 ; Whither

leads yonder forest-track? Backward to the colony, thou sayest!

Yea ; but forth, excessively! Deeper it goes, and deeper into the

wilderness & # 8230 ; until, some few stat mis therefore, the xanthous leave will demo

no trace of the white adult male & # 8217 ; s tread. & # 8221 ; ( p. 187 ) If one looks at the

rubric of this chapter, the significance becomes much clearer. & # 8220 ; The

Curate and His Parishioner & # 8221 ; reveals that the functions are now reversed.

Where else could an incongruousness such as this occur, but in

an accepting environment? What other platform is at that place for a adult male of

high respect in the community to pour his psyche to a adult female who is

shunned by the populace for a grave wickedness? Nowhere else but in the wood,

could such an event occur.

Finally, the forest brings out the natural visual aspect and

natural personality of the people who use it right. When Hester

takes off her cap and unloosens her hair, we see a new individual. We see

the existent Hester, who has been hidden this whole clip under a shield of

shame. Her eyes turn radiant and a flower comes to her cheek. We

acknowledge her as the Hester from Chapter 1. The beautiful, attractive

individual who is non afraid to demo her hair and non afraid to expose

her beauty. The sunshine, which antecedently shunned Hester, now seeks

her out, and the wood seems to glow. Dimmesdale has besides come back

to life, if merely for a short clip, and he is now hopeful and

energetic. We have non seen this from Dimmesdale for a long clip, and

most probably will non see it of all time once more.

Puritan society can be rough and stultifying to one & # 8217 ; s inner ego.

Hawthorne created the forest to give the characters a topographic point to

flight and show their true ideas, beliefs, and emotions. It was

here that ideas and thoughts flowed every bit infinitely as the babble

creek, and emotion was every bit wild as the forest itself. There are no

restraints in the natural universe, because it is merely that, natural. No

invasion from people means no perturbation in the natural order, and

hence serves to convey its dwellers off from their universe, and

into this older one. I believe Michel Eyquem de Montaigne stated it

most decidedly when he said & # 8220 ; Let us allow nature to hold her manner:

she understands her concern better than we do & # 8221 ; .