The forest is a symbol of a more natural and "wild" nature. Hawthorne sets up a diachotomy between the town and the forest. The town is where man made law regulates every ones behavior. People are in full view and must abide by the societal systems. The forest is a place where they go to hide and take part in their transgressions. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest. Mistress Hibbins takes her rides there. It is a place that is governed by natural urges rather than human imposed order. Hester isespecially interesting because her cottage is on the edge of town. She lives almost in the forest, so follows her natural urges more, but still exists and is governed by the regulations of Boston.
symbols · The scarlet letter; the town scaffold; the meteor; Pearl; the rosebush next to the prison door