Comparing the Governor's garden with gardens in Old England, what is significant about the difference in The Scarlet Letter?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter VII of The Scarlet Letter as Hester awaits her audience with the governor, Pearl looks along a garden walk and sees, not the ornamental gardening of the English, but a more practical one.  For, cabbages and pumpkin vines are present, along with a few rose-bushes and several apple trees, which the narrator believes may have been planted by the first settler, the Reverend Mr. Blackstone.

Much like the Puritan faith that rejected, among doctines, the ornamentation of the Anglican Church, the lives of Puritans are strict and simplified, stripped of frivolity, like the governor's garden.  In Chapter XXI, "The New England Holiday," Hawthorne reflects,

But we perhaps exaggerate the grey or sable tinge, which undoubtedly characterised the mood and manners of the age.

The "grey gloom" of the Puritans on this day is replaced with a "dim reflection of a remembered splendor."  Similar to the plain and functional garden of the governor that Pearl observes in Chapter VII, the decorative beauty of the old country from which the Massachusetts colony people have come is all but forgotten and in its place is the strict and colorless practicality of life.


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