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Word Count: 1,144
In the Woods In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter life centers around a rigid Puritan society in which one is unable to indulge his or her innermost thoughts and secrets Every human being needs the opportunity to express how he or she truly feels otherwise the emotion builds up until they become volatile Unfortunately Puritan society allows no expression of this kind so the characters have to seek alternate means in order to relieve their personal anguishes and desires Luckily at least for the four main characters Hawthorne provides such a sanctuary in the form of the mysterious forest Hawthorne uses the forest to provide a kind of shelter for members of society in need of a refuge from daily Puritan life In the deep dark portions of the forest many of the pivotal characters bring forth hidden thoughts and emotions The forest track leads away from the settlement out into the wilderness where all signs of civilization vanish This secluded trail is the escape route from strict mandates of law and religion to a refuge where men as well as women are able to open up and be themselves It is here that Dimmesdale openly acknowledges Hester and his love for her It is also here in the forest that Hester does the same for Dimmesdale The forest is where the two of them engage in conversation without the constraints that Puritan society places on them The forest is the very embodiment of freedom Nobody watches in the woods to report misbehavior thus it is here that people may do as they wish To independent spirits such as Hester Prynnes the wilderness beckons her Truly Hester takes advantage of this as soon as Arthur Dimmesdale accompanies her there She openly talks with Dimmesdale about unmentionable subjects which seem inappropriate in any place other than the forest What we didhad a consecration of its own We felt it so We said to each other 179
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