Scarlet Letter Images

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 3 (1037 words) Published: November 29, 2012
Joseph Gurke
Ms. Boas P.1
The Scarlet Letter Light, Dark, Sunlight and Shadows
Throughout his entire life, Nathaniel Hawthorne had lived in seclusion from people and society, isolating himself and his thoughts behind a mysterious shade. This may explain why the themes of sin, secrecy and guilt are used in Hawthorne’s fiction, exploring hidden human dimensions. The images of sin, secrecy, and guilt are constantly portrayed in Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, through the presence of recurring motifs of light and dark, sunlight and shadows; as these themes aid the reader's depiction of the separation between evil and goodness.

Images of light are seen throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter. These images illuminate a character’s true intention and personality, yet at the same time, force a character to hide certain aspects of his personality while under the public eye. The view of Hester on the scaffold, when she is receiving her punishment for adultery in front of the public eye, the image of light illuminates her scarlet letter and sin; liberating Hester from public judgment and the pain of concealing sin, “Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how here beauty shown out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped.” (49). The fact the Hester’s sin is known to all and that she is stands tall with her baby in her arms and the scarlet letter on her chest shows that she no longer needs to conceal anything from the public eye, “And never had Hester Prynne appeared more lady-like, in the antique interpretation of the term, than as she issued from the prison.” (49). After being revealed to the public, Hester must now live in isolation with nature, self-reliance and non-conformity being the ethics in her life; yet having the relief of wearing sin on her chest.

Sunlight is a naturally occurring...
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