Scarlet Letter Symbolism Paper

Topics: Meaning of life, The Scarlet Letter, John Winthrop Pages: 2 (791 words) Published: April 25, 2013
The Letter A
The first symbol that is noticed in The Scarlet Letter is the actual scarlet letter, which is probably because it is the most important symbol in the novel. The letter is worn by a woman named Hester, who is sentenced to wearing the letter for the rest of her life as a symbol of Adultery. Hester was caught in the act of adultery when she had a child, and it wasn’t her husband’s child. What is surprising about the letter is how much it changes throughout the events of the novel.

The scarlet letter was originally meant to be a harsh reminder to Hester about the mistake she made. Throughout the story, the meaning of the letter took a sharp turn. When Hester was first released from jail, she was forced to stand on a scaffold so everyone could stare and judge her for what she did. She was forced to sew the letter to her clothes so she would always be reminded of the sin that she committed. When the story came to an end, the meaning of the letter had changed from “adultery” to “able”. It changed when a meteor went through the sky and formed the letter “A”. Hester was able to overcome the judgment and criticism of her fellow towns’ people and became a walking inspiration to others, because of the scarlet letter. She wore the letter with pride, and wasn’t ashamed of what it meant. Karma came back and rewarded her for that, because the meaning of the symbol eventually became a good one.

The scarlet “A” is also a sign of the meaninglessness of the community’s judgment and immaturity. It represents how cruel the people of the town were when they were purposely trying to make someone’s life miserable. The letter may have been meant to remind Hester of the sin that she committed, but since Hester had the mindset of a mature adult, the letter wasn’t just a representation of her sin. It probably reminded Hester of how selfish the rest of the community was, purposely trying to ruin her life and make it so she can’t live a normal life like the rest of them....
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