Hawthorne's Symbolism Is Scarlet Letter Essay

647 words - 3 pages

Symbolism was a literary movement during the nineteenth century that influenced many poets. Symbolism is anything that stands for or represents something else. "The Scarlet Letter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne is filled with symbolism which he uses to unify the novel and add a deeper level of meaning to the story. In the novel, the three most important symbolisms were the forest, the scaffold, and the scarlet letter "A" on Hester's bosom. But the symbolism of the scarlet letter "A" outweighs every other symbolism. The forest is symbolic of Nature, both in its darker and lighter aspects. The rays of sunshine fall on Pearl but do not reach Hester, which symbolize her inability to find happiness or warmth. The darkness in forest is suggestive of the dull gloom in her life. "All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming objects that had made a shadow hitherto embodied the brightness now. The course of the little brook might be traced by its merry gleam a far into the wood's heart of mystery, which had become a mystery of joy"(199). As a symbol of her freedom, she throws away the scarlet letter and undoes her hair. Appropriately, a flood of sunshine illuminates the forest, dispelling the darkness. The rays of sunshine finally reach her because she finds warmth and happiness from Dimmesdale and from herself. The scaffold is a symbol of penitence and God's platform on the Day of Judgment. It is a reflection of appearing before the Almighty in one's weakness. Dimmesdale has great difficulty in standing on the platform and confessing his sins. He first does it under the cover of darkness for no one...

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