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Nathaniel Hawthorne refers to the prison as "the black flower of civilized society" in the first chapter of The Scarlet Letter. This structure is a representation of the punitive nature of human beings. Although the Puritans have sought out a new home in the New World, one of the first actions they take is to erect a building meant to imprison others; this seems to suggest that despite their moral and religious convictions, the Puritans are convinced that someone will eventually sin and, thus, warrant arrest.
Thus, blackness represents that sin--the blemish of society which is necessary for a form of incarceration to exist. It is also significant that Hawthorne chose to refer to the prison as a flower and not a weed; this implies that the prisons were "planted" and wanted rather than just "popping up."
HOW ARE THE BLACK FLOWER AND ROSE BUSH ALIKE
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