In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays Hester Prynne as the ideal Romantic hero through her the symbolism of the scarlet A on her bosom. With the conformities by her puritan town, Hester’s struggle is established by people’s label given to her. Throughout the story Hester symbolizes different transcendentalist views such as individual versus society and having Pearl portray innocence versus sophistication similar to Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau’s position on transcendentalist views. The scarlet A worn by Hester Prynne contributed to her struggles with the comforties set by her Puritan society. This is shown when Hester and Dimmesdale are in the forest together holding hands. Nathaniel shows that the love between Hester and Dimmesdale are a sin which relates to the transcendentalist idea.
Due to Dimmesdale reputation in society, he fears having to publicly admit his sins, but hold hiding his sins continues to hurt him mentally and physically. Nathaniel Hawthorne mentions “is there not shade enough in all this boundless forest to hide thy heart from the gaze of Roger Chillingworth?” This quote relays an example of a transcendentalist belief of individualism versus society. After years as being rejected by his puritan society, Hester begins to understand how senseless the rules of her town is. Comparing Nathaniel’s work to Emerson’s essay “self-reliance” and “Nature”, they both display the importance of individuality and innocence that can be achieved in nature. When Emerson mentions “the sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child,” it relates to Pearl’s innocence. Emerson’s quote is important as it is an analogy for The Scarlet Letter. Hester would be the “man” who doesn’t truly understand the purpose of the sun, but only sees it for its beauty.
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However when Pearl looks at the sun, she is able to see the truth as the transcendentalist view states that nature’s truth is best seen through innocence. This refers to when Hester attempts to take off the scarlet letter A in the forest, but Pearl fails to recognize Hester without her scarlet letter A. Henry David Thoreau’s essay is comparable to Nathaniel’s view on transcendentalism since Henry believes that being associated with society does not show a person’s true identity.