The Scarlet Letter

What does the setting of the book contribute to the mood of the story?

The Scarlet Letter

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The settings vary within the village. This opening chapter of the main narrative introduces several of the images and themes within the story to follow. These images will recur in several settings and serve as metaphors for the underlying conflict. In the manner that Hawthorne describes it, the prison embodies the unyielding severity of puritan law: old, rusted, yet strong with an "iron-clamped oaken door." Puritan law is coated, in this account, in the rust of tradition and obsolete purpose. The re is a sense of isolation in the village: it is a bubble where people exist within a very narrow context of laws and values. Outside of the village there is a mood of freedom and danger in the forest.