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Word Count: 1,081
In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter life is centered arounda rigid Puritanistic-structured society in which one is unable to divulgehis or her innermost thoughts and secrets Every human being needs theopportunity to express how they truly feel or the emotion is bottled upuntil it becomes volatile Unfortunately Puritan society did not permitthis expression so characters had to seek alternate means in order to relievethemselves Luckily at least for the four main characters Hawthorne providessuch a sanctuary in the form of the mysterious forest Hawthorne uses theforest to provide a shelter for members of society in need of a refuge fromdaily lifeIn the deep dark portions of the forest many of the pivotal charactersbring forth hidden thoughts and emotions The forest track leads away fromthe settlement out into the wilderness where all signs of civilization vanishThis is precisely the escape route from strict mandates of law and religionto a refuge where men as well as women can open up and be themselvesIt is here that Dimmesdale can openly acknowledge Hester and his undyinglove for her It is here that Hester can do the same for Dimmesdale It ishere that the two of them can openly engage in conversation without beingpreoccupied with the constraints that Puritan society places on them Theforest itself is free Nobody watches in the woods to report misbehaviorso it is here where people do as they wish To independent spirits like HesterPrynnes the wilderness beckons her Throw off the shackles of lawand religion What good have they done you anyway Look at you a young andvibrant woman grown old before you time And no wonder hemmed in as youare on every side by prohibitions Why you can hardly walk without trippingover one commandment or another Come to me and be masterless Truly Hestertakes advantage of this when Arthur Dimmesdale appears She openly talkswith Dimmesdale about subjects which would never be mentioned in any placeother than the forest What we did she reminds him
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