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Word Count: 820
Robert Frosts Mending Wall describes a stone barrier that two neighbors visit each year for repair The wall is used as a metaphor for how we place barriers between each other which is far easier to deal with but is a loss in the long run Buildings and structures have long been used to symbolize abstract ideas in literature Hawthorn uses the prison cottage and scaffold as concrete representations for the rigid society the psychological effects of the characters and the morals of a society in The Scarlet Letter Bostons prison ironically stood not only as a symbol of the severity of Puritan law but also as a beacon of tolerance and a portraiture of Hesters resiliency and strength in The Scarlet Letter The novel opens with the scene at the jail and sets Hawthornes tone with its description Particularly the prisons door a wooden edificeheavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes gives an impression of firmness and reveals the strict enforcement of the even stricter Puritan law 45 Conversely it can also be viewed as a symbol of Hesters strength throughout the novel Inside the prison walls Hester and Chillingsworth can freely discuss their past without exposing themselves to the society Seen by Bostons citizens as to seclude the society from its criminals its wooden walls actually shelter Hester from the society The jail also looked more antique than anything else in the New World 46 This indicates that the laws of the society remain very traditional in the beginnings of a modern country However Hawthorn directly challenges the ideas of harshness and traditionalism by describing a simple but beautiful rosebush that resides on one side of the prison door He leads the reader to believe that it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson 46 Hutchinson was a religious woman not unlike Hester Prynne who disagreed with the Puritanical teachings and as a result was imprisoned in
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