Scarlet Letter Forest Symbolism Essay, Research Paper
Jacquie Kaloz10/13/00Symbolism of the Forest Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, is filled with a variety of symbols. The forest is a place where the characters can be free and careless, but is also known as a evil place where the Black Man lives. One of the symbols he uses is the forest, which is symbolic in a number of ways. The forest is where Hester and Dimmesdale become intimate with one another. It represents a place where the main characters relax and take the daily pressures of Puritan life off their backs. The forest is where Hester removes her cap, lets her hair down, and takes off the scarlet letter. Pearl can run freely in the forest, she also decorates herself with flowers. In the forest the characters are isolated from the society. The forest is where the characters are able to express their true feelings. Dimmesdale admits to Hester that he is filled with despair since he hasn’t revealed his sins of adultery and hypocrisy to his congregation. Hester admits to Dimmesdale that Chillingworth is her husband while they are in the forest. “That old man! -the physician! -he whom they call roger Chillingworth!-he was my husband!”(184) Hester talks Dimmesdale into running away, while they are in the forest too. She then says, “Thou shall not go alone!”(189), and they decide to go together. The only main character that doesn’t reveal his true felling in the forest is Chillingworth.
The Black man is also known to be in the forest. “How he haunts this forest, and carries a book with him-a big, heavy book, with iron clasps; and how this ugly Black Man offers his book and an iron pen to everybody who meets him here among the trees; and they are to write their names with their own blood (177). This shows how the forest is sometimes represented as evil. The forest is symbolic in many ways, and can represent different things. It is just one of many symbols Hawthorne uses in this novel.