Setting/Character interaction in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.My assignment requests that I explain how the characters are affected by the environment and how the characters affect it...

Setting/Character interaction in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

My assignment requests that I explain how the characters are affected by the environment and how the characters affect it in turn. I really have no clue what to put and I would love if someone could reword it so that I can understand how to properly answer the task.

Asked on by winterdude

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

By the same token, Pearl takes on a more fairy-like quality when she goes out into the woods.  She wears clothing and decorations made of vines, flowers, and moss.  She floats from sunbeam to sunbeam and she plays in the brook like a water baby.  However, in the same scene mentioned above, when Pearl comes back to see her mother with her hair down and the letter gone, she does not recognize her.  Pearl insists on everything being put back the way it was before she will even come close to her mother or the minister. 

 

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Here is a great quote from the forest scene to start you off:

"...she took off the formal cap that confined her hair; and down it fell upon her shoulders, ... And, as if the gloom of the earth and sky had been but the effluence of these two mortal hearts, it vanished with their sorrow. All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the grey trunks of the solemn trees. The objects that had made a shadow hitherto, embodied the brightness now. "

When Hester removes her scarlet letter and lets down her hair, she is letting go of the weight of guilt upon her.  The environment around her also reacts to these actions.  Just as she seems to grow brighter and younger, so does the day - the clouds part, sunshine pours into the forest, and all the vegetation seems to glow with brightness.

This is an example of how the character is effecting the environment.  Try to find other examples, and also examples of how the state of environment (sunny, rainy, foggy, etc.) seems to affect the characters' moods and appearances.

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