Nature In The Scarlet Letter

Submitted By jerenninger1234
Words: 663
Pages: 3

Jenna Renninger
Mr. Blydenburgh
English 11
January 27, 2014
The Scarlet Letter
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, nature plays a very important symbolic role. Hawthorne uses nature to bring the mood of a scene, to describe characters, and to link the natural elements with human nature. Many of the passages that have to do with nature accomplish more than one of these ideas. All throughout the book, nature is incorporated into the story line. Nathaniel Hawthorne explores the nature of sin and the quest for redemption through the main characters in his story Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Pearl to represent nature. She has a wild, untamed personality, much like the wilderness, which links her to nature. This link is best shown at the end of Chapter 18, where the natural world welcomes Pearl to play. “These Pearl gathered and was pleased with their wild flavor. The small denizens of the wilderness hardly took pains to move out of her path” (Hawthorne 187). Hawthorne is trying to show that even though she is the result of a sin she is still beautiful and is more beautiful in a way then some others. This affects the book because it shows us that she is a beautiful child of nature. Her counterpart could be the puritan kids. They make fun of her and are not truly beautiful inside like she is. They show that the sin is wrong, even though it was one of love and passion. She represents nature in the way that nature is the way of life and she has been produced because of it. In chapter 6 it says “she looked fearfully into the child’s expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark arid wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being” ( Hawthorne,79). This quote from the novel explains how wild Pearl actually is, it also explains that Hester cannot control her sometimes. Much of Hawthorne's symbolism is very hard to find, but several symbols are also obvious. In the first chapter Hawthorne describes the prison as "the black flower of civilized society" (Hawthorne, 41). The prison represents the crime and punishment that was incorporated in the early Puritan life. In the same chapter he describes the overgrown vegetation of weeds around the prison “Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel track of the street, was a grass plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found some congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison”(Hawthorne 42). The weeds symbolize how corrupt civilization really is. He also points out a positive symbol, the wild