Scarlet Letter Symbols and Interpretations

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Tiana McCorvey
Period 4
Interpretations of the Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the best-selling and most read novels in America. Of course, with this “romance,” as Hawthorne called it, being so popular some of the famed producers and actors tried to make a movie from it, as Daniels explains in his article “Bad Movies/Worst History: The 1995 Unmaking of The Scarlet Letter.” Times after time, there have been at least 10 productions and none have them have succeeded “…to capture the artistry of the novel....” The Scarlet Letter is very symbolic and leads its reader to interpret it in their own ways, but on the contrary, Carrez’ article “Symbol and Interpretation in Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter” explains that many of the German romantics looked down upon The Scarlet Letter and deemed it as allegorical. Edgar Allen Poe said that Hawthorne “is infinitely too fond of allegory, and can never hope for popularity as long as he persists in it.” Carrez goes on to say the difference between an allegory and symbol and discusses many symbols of the novel.

Daniels’ article over the destruction of the multiple remakes of The Scarlet Letter was both very true and thought-provoking. The Scarlet Letter is a “romance” and mysterious story that should get the respect and work that it rightfully deserves. Critics were enraged at the bad quality of the movies but, “Nothing seemed to anger critics more than the film’s heavy-handed political correctness” (Daniels 2). The 1990 making of The Scarlet Letter portrayed Hester as nothing more than a feminist that gets hot when Dimmesdale is around, and also naked many times throughout the movie. Hester’s true symbol was a woman of dignity and acknowledgment of her sin. She did not let the townspeople to run her life into ruins or destroy her self-esteem. I feel as though the director, Joffe, disrespected, if not almost, jeered, at Hawthorne by making Hester so untrue. The movie even displays...
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