1 Mooguran

Essays On Nature In The Scarlet Letter

Role of Nature in the Scarlet Letter

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

Daniele Luetke AP English 12/20/12 Nature Essay The Role of Nature In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, there are several chapters devoted to nature and its role in the novel. Every main character has some kind of an interaction with nature. In the beginning of the novel, Hawthorne relates a rosebush to the footsteps of Ann Hutchinson who, in the eyes of early Puritan society, was a criminal. However, nature knows she was innocent, so it responded to her with a pure rosebush. Whether nature expresses itself through sunlight, plants, animals, or water, it does touch each of the characters in its own way.

The role of nature in The Scarlet Letter is to reveal the personalities of the characters through its actions. To begin, Hester Prynne was a young Puritan woman, just like any other. She was, at one point, married to the character who calls himself Roger Chillingworth; however, Chillingworth was said to be lost out at sea after disappearing for a few years or so. During the time Chillingworth was gone, Hester found herself a new love, Minister Arthur Dimmesdale. Hester and the minister had an affair, which left Hester pregnant.

Eventually, Chillingworth returns to find Hester with this newborn baby and the scarlet letter A, the mark of an adulterer. Since Hester committed the sin of adultery, the way nature reacts to Hester’s heart and head, where her morals come from, has a very negative tone. In chapter eighteen, Hawthorne writes, “Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places” (196). Deserts are places in nature that are desolate, so nature is telling the readers that Hester’s morals are compromised because of the sin that she committed.

Nature dislikes Hester because of the ignominy she carries with her, symbolized in the A. Another example of nature’s negativity towards Hester is when she tries to touch the sunshine, “As she attempted to do so, the sunshine vanished” (180). Sunshine is a bright, good symbol in nature, and the fact that Hester cannot touch it proves she holds sin in her heart. Talking about nature and the forest in general, Hawthorne wrote, “The great black forest—stern as it showed itself to those who brought the guilt and troubles of the world into its bosom—” (200).

This quote tells the readers that nature is stern against those who are guilty, which reveals that Hester’s personality is filled with the guilt and shame of her sin. On the other hand, nature is sympathetic towards Hester as well. As soon as Hester removes the scarlet letter in the forest, nature responds with a positive reaction, “All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest” (199). This quote demonstrates to the readers that nature knows of Hester’s sin, yet is still forgiving towards her.

When the A is taken off, nature brightens and shows that Hester does have a good heart and is a good person; she just made a bad decision when she had the affair. Nature reveals that her morals were compromised, but when the object of her sin is removed, she has a pure heart and mind just like her child. When it comes to Hester’s daughter Pearl, nature has a different attitude. In chapter sixteen, the text says, “(Pearl) did actually catch the sunshine, and stood laughing in the midst of it, all brightened by its splendor” (180).

The fact that Pearl can play in the sunshine proves to the readers that she is pure at heart and a good child. Many of the characters in the novel believe Pearl is a demon child because she is the product of a sin. However, nature reveals that those characters are incorrect because nature is unbiased which allows it to show the truth about the personalities on the inside rather than what is observed on the outside. Another example of Pearl’s goodness is, “And she was gentler here than in the grassy-margined streets of the settlement, or in her mother’s cottage.

The flowers appeared to know it,” (201). This quote demonstrates to the readers that the characters can be their true selves while they are in nature, as opposed to when they are in society. Nature again reveals that Pearl is a good, gentle child even though society depicts her as a demon. As for Roger Chillingworth, nature displays his true personality as well. Chillingworth is a very dark, malicious man full of sin and hatred, “Would not the earth, quickened to an evil purpose by the sympathy of his eye, greet him with poisonous shrubs? ” (171).

By stating that Chillingworth can turn the earth evil with just a look explains to the readers that he is deceitful and is allowing the darkness of revenge to consume him and change his personality. He is supposed to be a physician and care for the sick minister, yet all Chillingworth truly does is torture him. The townspeople believe Chillingworth is a helpful man, but nature reveals that he has allowed himself to turn into a dark monster, which the earth greets with poisonous plants. Arthur Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is not described so harshly by nature.

In chapter eighteen, Hawthorne wrote, “His spirit rose, as it were, with a bound, and attained a nearer prospect of the sky than throughout all the misery which had kept him groveling on the earth” (198). With this quote, nature tells the readers that Dimmesdale is a weak person that was held down “groveling” pitifully from the weight of his sin. He did not have the courage it took to be truthful and confess his sin to his loyal townspeople. He had to hide behind Hester, letting her take all the blame alone because he was not strong enough to face it himself.

However, nature does recognize that Dimmesdale is not a completely bad person because his spirit was allowed to become close to the sky after he did the right thing and vowed to admit his sin to the town. Nature in The Scarlet Letter has many interactions with the characters, mainly occurring in chapters fifteen though nineteen. Some characters were connected more with nature settings, like the forest, desert, or earth in general. However, others were connected with physical aspects of nature like sunshine or plants.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

Nature was able to show the true personalities of the characters that were not as obvious in previous chapters of the novel. The reactions of nature could also show hidden parts of the characters that the people of the Puritan society did not know, could not see, or were incorrect about due to their lack of reliable information and own beliefs. Nature allows the readers to better connect with the simplistic forms of the main characters without any falsities. All in all, nature’s main role in this novel was to reveal the true personalities of the characters and it succeeded.

Author: Royce Ballin

in The Scarlet Letter

Role of Nature in the Scarlet Letter

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

The Scarlet Letter Essay: How Nature Plays A Role In The Novel

Overlooked in many books, nature plays a huge part in the novel The Scarlet Letter. It plays its own character that seems to show emotions as well as its own likes and dislikes. It is where Hester and Dimmesdale first committed their sin and it also seems to be the first place where they are most forgiven from it. Metaphors were also created with the use of nature to keep things more connected throughout the book, and to keep the reader on track. Also, Pearl seems to have a connection with nature as if she is it in a human-like form. Talks of her being a sprite and an elf show this point clearly because both of those creatures take care of nature.

The forest specifically is where many of the important events occurred in the book and could in some ways be viewed as a separate world from that of the Puritan community. In contrast to the hostile and unforgiving society Hester and Dimmesdale lived, the forest was understanding and accepting to the two. It is to be understood that the sin the two committed happened in the forest. This split the two a part for at least seven years before they met back in the woods to find comfort in one another, in the place where their lives were changed forever. During the scene where Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest after seven years of being distant from each other, nature has a big role in letting the reader know how it feels about the sinners. When Hester wants to move forward with her life and with Dimmesdale, she talks about leaving the past in the past and getting on with her life. After this, she threw the scarlet letter towards the brook. "With a hand's breadth further flight it would have fallen into the water, and have given the little brook another woe to carry onwards, besides the unintelligible tale which it still kept murmuring about. But there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel..." In this scenario, the river was telling Hester that her sin could not yet just be washed away. This leads one to believe that the forest...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

The Characters' Sinful Nature Depicted in The Scarlet Letter

678 words - 3 pages In the novel “The Scarlet Letter” sin is the underlying theme. We can see that throughout the story, as we come to meet each character and learn about them as well, each character has a sin that afflicts their reputation and life within the novel. The main characters that are portrayed as having the biggest sins are: Hester Prynne, Rodger Chillingworth, and Reverend Dimmsdale. As we the reader progress through the story, we see just how sin...

The Scarlet Letter (Little Pearl's role in the story and how unrealistic Hawthorne made her)

1115 words - 4 pages The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneLittle Pearl was the daughter and embodied guilt of Hester...

"The Scarlet Letter Introduction" Three page essay discussing the significance to the introduction of the novel "The Scarlet Letter"

796 words - 3 pages If a man is so dedicated to his writings, then it is surly proven when he writes a forty-eight introduction just to begin his novel. Set in the seventeenth century, Hawthorne effectively illustrates Puritanism in the introductory pages of

The Role of Color in The Scarlet Letter

1005 words - 4 pages Throughout history, colors have been used to symbolize different meanings based on associations with culture, history, politics, and religion. In The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism through colors such as red, black and white in the form of sunlight, to represent emotions and ideologies of Hester and the people around her. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the color red significantly throughout The Scarlet Letter to show...

The Role of Hester Pryne in The Scarlet Letter

890 words - 4 pages The Role of Hester Pryne in The Scarlet Letter The Role of Hester Prynne in the Development of Plot and Characterization in the Novel, The Scarlet Letter Within the novel The Scarlet Letter, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many ways to characterize Hester Prynne, and to show her importance in the development of the plot. This essay will show some ways Hester is characterized and will also show why and how she develops the...

A summary of the novel 'The Scarlet Letter' written by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1266 words - 5 pages This document is a summary of the novel 'The Scarlet Letter' written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the mid-Nineteenth century, howeverit is regarded by many as a classic today. The Scarlet Letter is a tale of human tragedy, which attempts to convey a moral. It was well researched and apparently portrays the era of Puritanism accurately. In fact, the...

The Range of Emotions in the Novel “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathanial Hawthorne

533 words - 2 pages Nathanial Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, provoked many emotions throughout his entire novel. The emotions ranged from grief to anticipation. Each character played an important role in the novel and I believe that each character evoked a different emotion in the reader. Three of the characters in which Nathanial Hawthorne demonstrates this are Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and their daughter Pearl. Hester Prynne, the...

Symbolism of Pearl in the Novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

531 words - 2 pages The Scarlet Letter is a book of much symbolism. One of themost complex and misunderstood symbols in the book is Pearl, thedaughter of

The Role of Religion in The Life of Pi and The Scarlet Letter

528 words - 2 pages In “The Life of Pi” and “The Scarlet Letter”, religion plays a major role in the story as well as the lives of the main characters, Pi and Hester. Although the religions between books are different with “The Life of Pi” containing Christianity, Hinduism, and Muslim, and “The Scarlet Letter” containing strict Christian beliefs, they all affect the characters in various ways through the entire story. Hester has gone against her religion and is...

Nurture plays a more dominant role in human’s development than nature

1176 words - 5 pages Humans are unique and intricate creatures and their development is a complex process. It is this process that leads people to question, is a child’s development influenced by genetics or their environment? This long debate has been at the forefront of psychology for countless decades now and is better known as “Nature versus Nurture”. The continuous controversy on whether or not children develop their psychological attributes based on genetics...

How the Environment Plays a Role in Learning?

1521 words - 6 pages IntroductionDuring the 1990s, considerable interest has been generated in the design of constructivist learning environments. The promise of these systems to leverage capabilities of technology, empower learners to pursue unique goals and needs, and re-conceptualize teaching-learning practices has sparked both provocative...

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *