Nature In The Scarlet Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, how is nature significant?

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Playing a critical role in The Scarlet Letter, Nature acts in contrast to Puritan society, creating symbols and imagery, demonstrating Pathetic Fallacy, while also reflecting changes in characters.

  • Contrast to Puritan Society

From the onset of the narrative about Hester Prynne, the contrast of the beauty of nature set against the harshness of Puritanical law is apparent with the juxtaposition of the weatherbeaten prison door with the rusted latch against the lovely wild rosebush that is held out as an invitation to "some sweet moral blossom" for the ensuing tale.

After Hester is made to wear the scarlet A upon her bosom, (Puritan law), her beauty seems to fade, and in Chapter 16 when Hester enters the forest with Pearl, the child remarks that the sunshine runs from her mother, who is in the darkness of her sin, while the innocent child "catches" a stream of light.

The great black forest--stern as it showed itself to those who brought the guilt and troubles of the world into its bosom--became the...

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