From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

In his Indian captivity, moreover, he had gained much knowledge of the properties of native herbs and roots; nor did he conceal from his patients, that these simple medicines, Nature’s boon to the untutored savage, had quite as large a share of his own confidence as the European pharmacopoeia, which so many learned doctors had spent centuries in elaborating. (9.2)

Considering that the European system of medicine at this time mostly consisted of bloodletting and chopping off limbs, yeah: probably almost anything would have been better.

Quote #5

For the sake of the minister’s health, and to enable the leech to gather plants with healing balm in them, they took long walks on the seashore or in the forest; mingling various talk with the plash and murmur of the waves, and the solemn wind anthem among in treetops. (9.12)

Check out the way Chillingworth's and Dimmesdale's "various talk" sounds just like another kind of natural noise, like the "murmur" of the waves or the "solemn" sounds of the wind. Man and nature don't have to be opposed—they can be in harmony, too.

Quote #6

Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, leaving a barren and blasted spot, where, in due course of time, would be seen deadly nightshade, dogwood, henbane, and whatever else of vegetable wickedness the climate could produce, all flourishing with hideous luxuriance? (15.1)

Nature isn't all rosebushes and dewdrops. It's also poison. Keep that in mind next time someone tells to be one with nature.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...