Books and Movies Reviews

The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne . Hawthorne uses the ironic element of setting in order to connect themes, characterization, symbols, as well as the most evident, mans need to hide from the injustices of society. Though his description of Hester's cottage, the forest, and the prison, Hawthorne uses setting to demonstrate people's tendency to seek shelter from society.

A gloomy feeling of disconnection from society is associated with the cottage in which Hester Prynne chooses to make her home. The cottage is located "on the outskirts of town"(p.74). The town represents civilization, a rule-bound space where everything anyone does is on display. The forest, on the other hand, is bound by a different set of rules that are not as strict. Hester's cottage is located on the outskirts of town and on the edge of the forest, in between both states. It is her place of exile, however it is also a place where she can create a new more peaceful life for herself. The land on which Hester's cottage lies, is abandoned by the early settlers of the New World "because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation"(p.74). The land that Hester lives on is incapable of supporting life, and is unsuitable for previous puritan settlers. Ironically, it was fit for Hester because she, unlike the other Puritans, has an extremely passionate nature, and example of which being her affair with Dimmesdale. Under the judgmental eye of the Puritan society, Hester is shamed and alienated from the rest of the community for her act of adultery. The scarlet letter, Hester's brandish of shame and alienation, functions as "her passport into regions where other women dare not tread." Also, the cottage is similar to a witch's cottage in that "a mystic shadow of suspicion immediately attaches itself to the spot"(75), and young children lurk about it trying to find out more about the mysteriou…

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