Nathaniel Hawthorne promotes the idea of socially on brought guilt through the interactions of characters and Puritan beliefs in The Scarlet Letter. He masterfully depicts a newly settled New England and it's strict religious faith, which is still seen in much of New England today. He uses symbolism, irony and to fully bring out the true potential of his story.
Nathaniel Hawthorne beautifully crafts his story by using symbolism to reveal details about the story and its characters. In The Scarlet Letter one of the most obvious and prominent symbols is the scarlet "A" placed on Hester. But many readers do not realize that to accompany the letter is Hester's daughter Pearl. Although they have the one similarity of having manifested themselves in a physical form they do evolve through the story into two completely different things. In the beginning the scarlet letter "A" represents Hester's adulterous sin. It is used against her to humiliate her and to persecute her. Through the story it slowly starts to become something more. The letter almost start to become a part of Hester. By the end of the story the letter "A" represents "Able". This is because she begins to help those that are sick and shows her community that she is not an evil sinner as they had previously viewed her. At the same time I feel as if Hester felt the actual impact of the scarlet letter after she had let go of the fact that it was a societal burden. "She had not known the weight, until she felt the freedom!" (pg. 211) While the letter was a punishment placed upon Hester by people, Pearl was placed on her as punishment from God. The guilt placed on Hester was the letter "A" while the guilt placed upon her by God was Pearl. So in a sense although the scarlet letter changed meaning Pearl would forever be there to remind her mother of the adulterous sin she had committed. In much of the story Pearl is perceived by the reader to be a burden on her mother. This is shown when Pearl taunts her...
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