Setting Breeds Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Decent Essays
Setting Breeds Symbolism One of the most important elements Nathaniel Hawthorne uses in The Scarlet Letter is setting. Throughout the entire book he decisively uses setting in the encounters between characters to create symbolism. Hawthorne uses allegories planted in the setting he uses which enables the reader to find deeper meaning in certain items or locations. For example, the scaffold, the puritan society, Hester's house, and the forest are all crucial in order to build the symbolic settings found all over the book.
The puritan townspeople and the society they dwell in brings forth a negative connotation straight from the beginning of the book. For example, Hawthorne begins The Scarlet Letter with chapter one titled The Prison Door. The title alone bears a bleak feeling and is described as “already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age” (Hawthorne 33). The Puritan people themselves are described as wearing “sad-colored garments and gray, steeple crowned hats” (Hawthorne 33). The readers first look at the puritans and their environment isn't characterized in a positive manner. They see Hester's sin as a unforgivable stain on her soul, exiling her to public shame and an A upon her breast.
Hester's home is a great example of how Hawthorne uses symbolism through setting. Hester's house is “so remote
…show more content…
Setting can be used, as Hawthorne did, to produce deeper meaning within the setting. Symbolism was a key component because it allowed the reader to better understand setting. In particular, Hawthorne uses the scaffold to symbolize sin and redemption, He uses Hester's home to symbolize the tight grip that the puritans had on her, and he uses the forest to symbolize something sweet in a place thought to be evil. Setting and the symbolism pulled from it, is used to build a better understanding of the characters in the
Get Access