In Age of Innocence, Ellen goes to Washington D.C. in order escape the judgmental society of New York, and to escape the temptation of Newland. She is on a quest to find out what she truly wants and where she needs to be. The old New York society was not accustomed to her European lifestyle, which caused her to become a topic of gossip and judgment. Furthermore, her attraction to Newland drove her away as she knew she could not be with him because of his relationship, status, and family connection to May.
In Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale go to the woods on a quest to reunite with each other and determine their future together with Pearl, and to escape society. They went to the woods to be in secret and away from society. They plan to leave on the ship in order to escape the Puritan society in which they live. The woods acted as a refuge of hope where they could show their true selves and not have to hide their love. Unfortunately, Roger Chillingworth thwarts their plans to escape and their quest ends abruptly.