Picture the scene of a violent storm at sea. Your boat is tossing and turning and nearly capsizes with the impact of every wave. It seems as though it may never be over until you wake up the next morning and the sea is calm once again, and to someone who has experienced such a terrible thing, they may tell you that this is the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. This could easily be compared with the imagery of the rose in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. The rose displays beauty and deep symbolism in the way it parallels the image of the jailhouse in a contrasting and picturesque manor, and the way it relates to pearl and her development.
As the story commences, we are presented with the contrasting image of the rose in front of the jailhouse.
But on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him (Hawthorne 43).
The dilapidated jailhouse, in front of which the rose sits, is in ruins and serves as a foil to the rose. It allows the rose's beauty and symbolism to be emphasized. The rose is a symbol of passion. It's red color is representative of bloodshed in times of hardship, and its thorns represent the pain we must sometimes endure, however out of most passionate experiences comes beauty. As aforementioned the rose offers its fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as they enter the jailhouse. This is metaphoric of the loss of freedom and purity. The rose reminds you of the beauty of the free outside world moments before entering the jailhouse and a life of captivity. In Hester's case, she not only had the chance to experience the rose as her last bit of freedom, but also in the passionate sense. Hester gave birth to Pearl while in jail and I'm sure that it held very true to the symbolism of the rose in it being a passionate and painful experience, but in the end, producing a beautiful result. In this case, the result of this passionate experience was Pearl.
As Pearl ages, she maintains and odd connection to the rose. There was one instance in particular when Hester and Pearl were at the governor's mansion to deliver a pair of gloves which he had ordered. When in the mansion, while looking into the garden they saw a plethora of flowers, some of which were rose bushes. "Pearl, seeing the rose-bushes, began to cry for a red rose, and would not be pacified" (Hawthorne 105). While this may seem odd and insignificant, Pearl cries for the rose like a child who longs to be with a parent and seems to be implacable. The reasoning behind Pearl’s desire for the rose is thematic in context. This is an allegory to...