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 Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is based in a strict Puritan society based in the Massachusetts Bay colony. In the historical setting, the main character Hester Prynne is persecuted because of committing the sin of adultery, she is forced to bare upon her chest a red letter “A” for adultery. Throughout the novel, Hester is treated harshly and unequally, but despite her resentment and exclusion from the Puritan society, she is eventually able to restore her confidence and place among society. Hester Prynne is one of the most notable characters in The Scarlet Letter who is excommunicated from the village of Boston but still lives on the fringes of society despite being looked down upon and disrespected. Hester moves from the village out to the forest where she raises her daughter Pearl alone and without a father The forest place defines Hester and Pearl and shapes her into developing her own sense of self confidence and independence to raise Pearl free from the judgement and resentment of the village. In a sense, the forest acts as a barrier that separates Hester from the rest of the community but it also embraces Hester for who she is and does not judge her and take in her social status. The forest transforms Hester and her confidence because the forest allows Hester to live a genuine life where she does not have to feel the need to fit into what society categorizes her and Pearl. The nature of the forest is highlighted by Hester’s thoughts in thinking “Such was the sympathy of Nature – that wild heathen nature of the forest, never subjugated by human law nor illumined by higher truth – with bliss of these two spirits!” (Hawthorne 192). The forest acts as a sanctuary for Hester and Pearl and it helps bring the two of them closer together. It also acts as an intermediate between Dimmesdale and Hester where they can both express themselves freely without the judgements and beliefs imposed by the Puritan society. The scarlet letter itself is an significant symbol that shows how one’s interpretation is worth more than what others believe. The townspeople see the scarlet letter as a negative symbol and view Hester as a sinner, but in contrast, Hester embraces the scarlet letter and instead of letting the scarlet letter define her as a sinner, she decides what the symbol represents of her. Hester wears the letter with pride, showing it off with decorations and fancy gold embodiments which showcases her talent with tailoring. With that skill, Hester is able to make a living as a single mother to Pearl. She is also able to use the “A” on her chest to become more independent and confident because it shows that Hester can make the letter as fancy and unique to her as she wants with her own consent. Furthermore, it displays how she is in control of what the letter represents instead of giving in to the beliefs imposed by the Puritan society. In addition, the letter on Hester’s chests becomes a representation of how able Hester is because she devotes her time to help others despite her circumstances and never stops working hard to help raise her child. People begin to see through the letter and her mistake and refuse to see it for what it really represents, but instead view Hester as able and also view the letter as a part of what made Hes Hawthorne uses many symbols to strengthen the ideas of the novel, The forest helps
represent the protection and safety that it gave for Hester and Pearl. The scarlet letter represents
Hester’s independence and confidence and her ability to not give in to what society tried to
define her as. They collectively portray Hester’s independence who rises above the danger

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