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scarlet letterthe forest

In The Scarlet Letter, life is centered around a rigid Puritan society, where one is unable to express his or her innermost thoughts and feelings. Everyone needs the opportunity to express how they truly feel; otherwise the emotions stay bottled up until they become explosive. Puritan society however did not permit this kind of expression. People had to seek alternative means of relieving their personal anguish and distress. In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne provides a refuge, in the form of a forest. The forest provides a shelter for the characters, especially Hester and Dimmesdale from the restrictions of daily Puritan life. In the deep portions of the forest, Hester and Dimmesdale bring forth hidden thoughts and emotions. The forest is set away from the village where all forms of civilization vanish. It is a retreat where men as well as women can open up and be themselves. It is here that Dimmesdale can openly acknowledge Hester and his love for her. In the forest the two of them can openly engage in conversation without being preoccupied with the restrictions that the Puritan society has placed on them. The forest represents freedom. There is no one in the forest to watch for misconduct, so people can do as they please. The wilderness calls to independent spirits such as Hester and Pearl. When Hester comes across Dimmesdale in the forest, she openly talks to him. She talks of subjects that would never be mentioned in any place other than the forest. “What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so! We said so to each other! Hast thou forgotten it”(179)? At first Dimmesdale is shocked by Hester’s statement and he tries to quiet her “Hush, Hester!”(179). He soon realizes however that he is in an environment where he is allowed to openly express his feelings to Her. It would have been inconceivable for Hester and Dimmesdale to have an intimate conversation in the limits of th...

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