Essay, Research Paper: Scarlet Letter Philosophical Issues

Literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“Wilt thou let me be at peace, if I once tell thee?” asked Hester. In
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, life is centered around a stiff
Puritan society in which one can not indulge in their deepest thoughts. Puritan
society does not let human beings show how they really feel. Therefore Hester
had to seek refuge to explore her inner thoughts, such as the forest. In the
forest Hester brings out many hidden emotions, Hester shows her love for
Dimmsdale, and the forest is a place where the both of them may have an open
conversation without the constraints of Puritan society. The forest is a symbol
of freedom. Nobody ever watched over the forest as a place of misbehavior, that
is why people went there to do what they wanted. “Throw off the shackles of
law and religion. What good have they done you anyway? Look at you, a young and
vibrant women, grown old before your time. And no wonder, hemmed in, as you are,
on every side of prohibitions. Why, you can hardly walk without tripping over
the commandment or another. Come to me, and be masterless.” Of coarse Hester
takes advantage of this when she meets with Dimmsdale in the forest. She talks
to him about things they could never imagine to discuss in any other place
except the forest. “What we did had a concecration of its own, we felt it so,
we said to eachother.” Dimmsdale is shocked and tries to hush Hester but
realizes he is in the safety of the forest and no one else may hear them. Just
the thought of Hester speaking to Dimmsdale in their society is un mentionable.
Yet in the forest they may feel free to do as they wish and not have to worry
about any one else knowing. In Puritan society every one is assumed to be
selfrelient. The puritans believe that you should have yourself to depend on
emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Therefore Hester could never show her
true emotions to Dimmsdale or for them to comfort each other. In the forest all
of these cares are thrown away. “Be though strong for me, advise me what to
do.” This is Dimmsdale’s cry for help to Hester, which they could never
discuss in their Puritan village. When he asks her for help he shows that he
thinks of Hester as an equal and he is not above her in any way. That may be one
of the reasons Puritan society wouldn’t allow such displays of emotion because
the man was supposed to be in charge. Hester feeling in control gives a speech.
“ Begin all new! Preach! Write! Act! Whither leads yonder yonder forest track?
Backward to the settlement, thou sayest, Yes! but onward too! Deeper it goes,
and deeper in the wilderness until, some few miles hence, the yellow leaves will
show no vestige of the white man’s tread. This quote describes that their
roles have been reversed, “The Pastor and his Parishioner.” The forest
brings out the natural side of whoever is occupying it at the time. When Hester
takes of her hat and unloosens her hair, its like we see another person come out
into the wilderness. We see the real Hester who has been hiding behind her
Scarlet Letter “A.” She becomes the Hester from Chapter 1 of the novel. She
is the beautiful young lady that is not afraid to show her real beauty and to
show off her hair. The sunshine that never shined on Hester seemed to find its
place on her and made the whole forest glow. Dimmsdale too becomes vibrant and
full of life, which was never shown from him and probably will never see it
again. Puritan society may be a cruel and harsh place to live in, as shown by
Hester. Hawthorne made the forest to give the people a place to get away from
law and religion and express their true feelings. Their emotions were as
energetic and wild as the forest itself. There are no setbacks in the forest
because its an all natural place and that’s what its meant for. In conclusion
the forest was a place where Hester would seek refuge and love and freedom.
Hester sought refuge in the vast freedom of the forest and could always look
forward to speaking with Dimmsdale there. “Wilt thou let me be at peace, once
I tell thee.”
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