Many authors use different colors and light schemes to both enhance and represent a character’s personality. Dark lighting and colors usually symbolize death, malice, sin, and mystery. On the other hand, sunlight and paler, lighter colors are symbols of honesty, purity, benevolence, and wisdom. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne attempts to decipher which characters are good and which are evil by contrasting light and dark, however these attempts are ineffective and unclear.
Throughout The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne surrounds Hester Prynne, the heroine of the novel, in poor lighting and shadows as if she is evil, though despite her sins, she is kindhearted and loving. When she is accused with the crime of adultery, she silently accepts her punishment, believing she is deserving of such shame. Hester even decides to continue living in the town of Boston, the town in which she is charged of her crime, even though she is able to move elsewhere and forget her past, whereas a selfish and evil man would try his hardest to escape his penance completely. Hester also makes clothes for the poor, a menial task in which she is treated poorly by her customers and receives very little to no pay. The poor are not the only ones to treat her this way, for nearly everyone in the town acts as though she carries a disease. If Hester were in fact wicked as people claim, she would lose her temper and seek revenge on those that treat her badly. However, she remains calm and bears the constant humiliation of being known as an adulteress. She is also a loving mother to Pearl, the product of her affair. She fights for custody of her daughter when town officials try to take the child away from her. If she was evil she most likely would give her child up and move on with her life as if the affair had never happened, but she is a good, caring person and does not. Regardless, Hawthorne still portrays her in darkness. He even... [continues]
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