Nature In The Scarlet Letter

Instructor: Terri Beth MillerSjust how bio

Terri Beth holds a PhD in English language and also literary works from the University of Tenneswatch, Knoxville. She additionally holds a Master of Arts in English literary works from the College of Virginia at Charlottesville, and also a BA in English from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. Because 2005, she has actually taught literature, writing, and also viewpoint courses at the university and graduate levels. Though Terri Beth loves publications and also creating of all kinds, her heart lies particularly via British Victorian and Modernist literature, and the novels of Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters, and also, to mix things up a bit, Salmale Rushdie!

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Nature plays a critical duty in Nathaniel Hawthorne"s 1850 masteritem, "The Scarlet Letter". As a leading number in the Amerideserve to Romantic movement, Hawthorne explores the empowering, healing, and also restorative forces of nature.
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The Natural World in The Scarlet Letter

Nature plays a crucial duty in Nathaniel Hawthorne"s 1850 masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter. The novel is set in a 1640"s Puritan community dedicated to the purification of culture through strict application of the Christian Gospels. The novel tells the story of Hester Prynne and her affair via Rev. Dimmesdale. Hawthorne highlights the hypocrisies, judgment, and also immorality of the public life, juxtaposing the errors of civilization with the liberating power of nature.


Nathaniel Hawthorne

Healing Nature vs. Corrupting Civilization

As a Romantic, Hawthorne was cynical of the pressures of civilization. He feared its unquestioning idea in progression and those social institutions intended to improve and also order our stays. For the Romantics, institutions, federal governments, hospitals, and also also churches all too regularly stifle individuality. They require submission and conformity, regularly resorting to brutality to accomplish these.

Nature, on the various other hand also, is the resource of eternal stamina and power. It provides comfort, life, and also healing to humans. We come from nature, and also it is to nature that our bodies will return. In the novel, Hester Prynne reconnects via the heart of nature, allowing her to rekindle her partnership via Dimmesdale. It is this soul of nature that is so powertotally embopassed away in Hester"s daughter Pearl.

The Town"s Prying Eyes

In the Puritan human being, tright here is no such point as a separation in between church and state. The government is the church, and also the church is the federal government. Church legislation is virtually the only regulation in Hester"s neighborhood. Thus as soon as Hester violates church law via her affair, she violates the legislations of the federal government. She is condemned to wear the scarlet letter signifying her sin for the remainder of her life. She is excommunicated from the church and also barred from respectable culture. She is mocked, ridiculed, and shunned wherever before she goes.

In Hester"s community, the personal is always public. The sins of one perchild threaten to lug dvery own God"s wrath on all. This is why Hester"s punishment is such a public affair. It drops to the whole community to store its members in line, which leads to hypocrisy, as we are led to think, feel, and also behave actually in ways that are unherbal to our truest selves.

Hester and Pearl on the scaffold

The Seclusions of Nature

For the Romantics, nature is the antidote to the pressures of human being. In the calm solitude of nature, a perkid can hear the still, soft voice of the soul. Tright here, she have the right to turn inward to uncover her truest self. This is the authentic self the Romantics celebrate, one not battered into uniformity and compliance by people.

The herbal people allows Hester and also Dimmesdale to rediscover themselves and also their love. When they meet in the woodland seven years after their affair, it is as though the condemnation of the town and its laws never before existed. The ancient woods infusage the couple via tranquility and also strength. The unity they feel once they are together in the woodland is what is organic. The separation and also shame that the town imposes are unorganic.

The Child of Nature

Perhaps no one in Hawthorne"s novel much better exemplifies the power and beauty of nature than Pearl. Born and also increased an outcast, Pearl literally and figuratively has actually lived her entire life external of the neighborhood. Hester and also Pearl live on a small peninsula, separated from the mainland and also the tvery own by a thick patch of woodland. Pearl has grown up playing in the sea that surrounds her house and also trying out the woods that shield her from the tvery own that reviles her. She is a son infoffered with all the wild joy of nature. She is cost-free and also unpredictable, bound by no law of guy or God, only by the pressures of nature and also her very own shimmering will.

As such, she is wise beyond her years. She sees the evil intent in Hester"s vengeful and also long-shed husband also, currently living under the name Roger Chillingworth. She refprovides to allow Hester to take off the scarlet letter, kissing it when she retransforms it to her mom. This activity says that this symbol of Hester"s shame is, in reality, sindicate a facet of her identity, not a token of sin, as the town proclintends. Pearl does not spare huguy feelings or bend to huguy laws. Astute, temperamental, and bold, she mirrors the stark realities of amoral nature, at when beautiful and devastating.

The rocky shores of Massachusetts. Photo credit: Alberto Fernandez

Leskid Summary

Nature plays an essential duty in Nathaniel Hawthorne"s 1850 masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter. Inspired by Hawthorne"s commitment to the American Romantic movement, the novel juxtaposes the public life of contemporary human being against the healing solitude of the herbal civilization. Thunstable Hester, Hawthorne says that social institutions and also public life stifle individuality, forcing submission to prescribed social duties. The organic world allows individuals to reattach with their authentic selves, simply as Hester Prynne and also Arthur Dimmesdale do as soon as reuniting in the forest seven years after their affair. Hester and Dimmesdale"s daughter, Pearl, embodies the forces of nature. Born and also increased among the sea and also the forest, she is the epitome of the child of nature, wild and also totally free.