The Scarlett Letter

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 123
  • Published : November 9, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
The Scarlett Letter

In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthrone, symbolism plays an important role. The symbols are apparent throughout the novel and reoccur in different places. The Scarlet Letter contains symbols including: the letter “A”, Pearl, and the scaffold.

Hester Prynne performs an act of adultery and as a punishment; she is giving the scarlet letter. The scarlet letter is most important symbol in the book, hence the books title. The scarlet letter, at first, is meant to represent shame and sin. The “a” literally represents adultery and Hester’s criminal act. The red coloring of the “a” symbolizes passion, love, and sin. Later in the book, the letter’s symbol becomes different to each of the characters. To Hester the letter means embarrassment and humiliation from the Puritan society. "Hester looked, by way of humoring the child; and she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it." This quote shows how the Puritan community doesn’t see Hester as the person she is, but as a sinner. The letter, to Dimsdale, represents his guilt and responsibility to Hester’s crime. It constantly reminds him of his own sin throughout the book. To Chillingworth the letter symbolizes the revenge he must take on Dimsdale. On the "Hester looked, by way of humoring the child; and she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it." other hand, to pearl, the “a” represents her existence and meaning of life.

Another symbol is the scaffold. The scaffold is brought up in the beginning, middle and end of the book. It is mentioned during the three climaxes of the...
tracking img