The Scarket Letter- Puritan Society Essay, Research PaperThe Scarlet Letter & # 8211 ; Puritan SocietyIn Nathaniel Hawthorne & # 8217 ; s The Scarlet Letter, life is centeredaround a stiff Puritan society in which 1 is unable to unwrap hisor her innermost ideas and secrets. Every human being needs thechance to show how he or she genuinely feels, otherwise theemotions are bottled up until they become volatile. Unfortunately,Puritan society did non allow this sort of look, thereforecharacters had to seek surrogate agencies to alleviate their personaltorments and desires. Fortunately, at least for the four chief characters,Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the signifier of the crypticwood. Hawthorne uses the wood to supply a sort of & # 8220 ; shelter & # 8221 ; formembers of society in demand of a safety from day-to-day Puritan life.In the deep, dark parts of the forest, many of the pivotalcharacters bring forth concealed ideas and emotions.
The forest pathleads off from the colony out into the wilderness where all marksof civilisation vanish. This is exactly the flight path from rigorousauthorizations 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 openlyacknowledges Hester and his deathless love for her. It is besides here thatHester can make the same for Dimmesdale.
Finally, it is here that thetwo of them can openly prosecute in conversation without beingpreoccupied with the restraints that Puritan society topographic points on them.The forest itself is the really incarnation of freedom. Ciphertickers in the forests to describe misbehavior, therefore it is here thatpeople may make as they wish. To independent liquors such as HesterPrynne & # 8217 ; s, the wilderness beckons her: Throw off the bonds of jurisprudenceand faith. What good have they done you anyhow? Look at you, aimmature and vivacious adult female, adult old before your clip. And no admiration,hemmed in, as you are, on every side by prohibitions. Why, you canbarely walk without stumbling over one commandment or another.
Come tome, and be masterless. ( p.186 )Truly, Hester takes advantage of this, when Arthur Dimmesdaleappears. She openly negotiations with Dimmesdale about topics which wouldne’er be mentioned in any topographic point other than the forest. & # 8220 ; What wedid & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; she reminds him, & # 8220 ; had a consecration of its ain. We felt itso! We said to each other! & # 8221 ; This statement shocks Dimmesdale and heTells Hester to hush, but he finally realizes that he is in anenvironment where he can openly show his emotions. The idea ofHester and Dimmesdale holding an intimate conversation in the confinesof the society in which they live is inexplicable. Yet here, inthe forest, they can throw away all reluctance and eventually bethemselves under the umbrella of security which exists.
In Puritan society, self trust is stressed among many otherthings. However, self trust is more than stressed- it is assumed.It is assumed that you need merely yourself, and hence should holdno emotional necessity for a & # 8220 ; shoulder to shout on & # 8221 ; . Once once more, forpeople in the Stationss of life which Hester and Dimmesdale hold, itwould be unthinkable for them to soothe each other. Yet, in theforest, 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 foraid from Dimmesdale, eventually acknowledging he can non travel through thisordeal by himself. With this supplication comes an interesting kind ofrole-reversal.
When Dimmesdale asks for aid, he is no longerprolonging the belief that he is above Hester. He is eventually acknowledgingthat she is an equal, or even that she is above him. This is perchanceone of the grounds that Puritans won & # 8217 ; t accept these emotionaldisplays- 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 morepowerful statement had yet to be made in the book. Hester & # 8217 ; s speechturns out to bear a singular resemblance to one of Dimmesdale & # 8217 ; sdiscourses.
& # 8220 ; Begin all afresh! & # 8230 ; Preach! Write! Act! & # 8221 ; ( p. 188 ) Theinquiries she asks are besides like the articulate inquiries whichDimmesdale would present during his discourses. The reply is obvious, yetupon closer scrutiny they seem to give unexpected consequences. & # 8220 ; Whitherleads yonder forest-track? Backward to the colony, thou sayest!Yea ; but forth, excessively! Deeper it goes, and deeper into thewilderness & # 8230 ; until, some few stat mis therefore, the xanthous leave will demono trace of the white adult male & # 8217 ; s tread. & # 8221 ; ( p. 187 ) If one looks at therubric of this chapter, the significance becomes much clearer. & # 8220 ; TheCurate and His Parishioner & # 8221 ; reveals that the functions are now reversed.
Where else could an incongruousness such as this occur, but inan accepting environment? What other platform is at that place for a adult male ofhigh respect in the community to pour his psyche to a adult female who isshunned 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 andnatural personality of the people who use it right. When Hestertakes off her cap and unloosens her hair, we see a new individual. We seethe existent Hester, who has been hidden this whole clip under a shield ofshame.
Her eyes turn radiant and a flower comes to her cheek. Weacknowledge her as the Hester from Chapter 1. The beautiful, attractiveindividual who is non afraid to demo her hair and non afraid to exposeher beauty. The sunshine, which antecedently shunned Hester, now seeksher out, and the wood seems to glow. Dimmesdale has besides come backto life, if merely for a short clip, and he is now hopeful andenergetic. We have non seen this from Dimmesdale for a long clip, andmost 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 toflight and show their true ideas, beliefs, and emotions. It washere that ideas and thoughts flowed every bit infinitely as the babblecreek, and emotion was every bit wild as the forest itself. There are norestraints in the natural universe, because it is merely that, natural. Noinvasion from people means no perturbation in the natural order, andhence serves to convey its dwellers off from their universe, andinto this older one.
I believe Michel Eyquem de Montaigne stated itmost decidedly when he said & # 8220 ; Let us allow nature to hold her manner:she understands her concern better than we do & # 8221 ; .