Romanticism is categorized as "a preference for simplicity and naturalness, a love of plain feelings and truth to common place reality, especially as found in natural scenes". Nathaniel Hawthorne was an anti-transcendentalist and believed in the dark side of man, hence his dark romantic novel The Scarlet Letter. This allegorical novel depends heavily on symbol and character. The novel is chock full of symbolic dimension of images, characters, and descriptions. The Scarlet Letter defines the American Romanticist movement while using symbolic characters and places that give the book seemingly two different stories. The first story denotes the story going on in the book, including the characters. The other story has symbols that speak on morals, religious doctrine, and public mindset. Furthermore the novel can be defined as a romantic novel by analyzing the characters Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale for their overall purpose to the story and the symbolism. .
An important concept of romanticism includes a close connection to the earth and natural scenes. A large occurrence of this comes in the first chapter of the book. The chapter mentions a rose bush outside of the prison. The novel then goes on to outline the rosebush as a beautiful thing that rises out of a bad place. The rosebush symbolizes a beauty that can not be taken away, the human spirit, like that of Hawthorne himself and also of Hester. In addition the prison represents Puritan society, with all of its strict social and moral rules of conduct, and the rose bush symbolizes the individual, standing defiantly on their own, lively and strong, in spite of the society as a whole, against them. Hawthorne's use of the rosebush implies that there may be an indestructible human impulse that can survive in people despite social order and natural rights. Another romantic nature symbol is the forest, which symbolizes both safe and evil aspects.