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Analysis Of The Scarlet Letter

1653 words - 7 pages

Romanticism is categorized as "a preference for simplicity and naturalness, a love of plain feelings and truth to common place reality, especially as found in natural scenes". Nathaniel Hawthorne was an anti-transcendentalist and believed in the dark side of man, hence his dark romantic novel The Scarlet Letter. This allegorical novel depends heavily on symbol and character. The novel is chock full of symbolic dimension of images, characters, and descriptions. The Scarlet Letter defines the American Romanticist movement while using symbolic characters and places that give the book seemingly two different stories. The first story denotes the story going on in the book, including the characters. The other story has symbols that speak on morals, religious doctrine, and public mindset. Furthermore the novel can be defined as a romantic novel by analyzing the characters Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale for their overall purpose to the story and the symbolism.An important concept of romanticism includes a close connection to the earth and natural scenes. A large occurrence of this comes in the first chapter of the book. The chapter mentions a rose bush outside of the prison. The novel then goes on to outline the rosebush as a beautiful thing that rises out of a bad place. The rosebush symbolizes a beauty that can not be taken away, the human spirit, like that of Hawthorne himself and also of Hester. In addition the prison represents Puritan society, with all of its strict social and moral rules of conduct, and the rose bush symbolizes the individual, standing defiantly on their own, lively and strong, in spite of the society as a whole, against them. Hawthorne's use of the rosebush implies that there may be an indestructible human impulse that can survive in people despite social order and natural rights. Another romantic nature symbol is the forest, which symbolizes both safe and evil aspects. An instance of the forest being evil can be revealed when Mistress Hibbins approaches Hester to invite her to "dance with the dark man", this goes with the setting of the forest. She presents Hester with the question "wilt thou go with us tonight? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I well-nigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester should make one" (119). When rumors spread through town about Hester and her adulterous letter, they would say that it would glow when she would walk through the forest, thus revealing the forest as a somewhat witchlike place. However, the forest is also a safe place. Safety is demonstrated as Hester goes to talk with Dimmesdale and she approaches none other than, the forest. Thus, concluding that the forest serves as a protective area and an area to be feared or weary of. The fear of the forest is what makes it safe.Along with the sense of nature in the novel the concept of naturalness of humanity, or naturalism also occurs. In a strict society, such as the Puritans, Hester disobeys the laws. She, in her decision to...

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