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Scarlet Letter Essay

875 words - 4 pages

In his book, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates themes of life. Through the use of his literary devices, he demonstrates or emphasizes a theme of adultery through his use of setting through the market place and the forest. As well as his use of symbolism through Pearl, Hawthorne illustrates the theme of adultery. In this paper I intend to demonstrate the theme of adultery through setting and symbolism, in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.Hawthorne uses Pearl as a symbolism of the sin of adultery. With the fact that she leads her mother, Hester Prynne, and Arthur Dimmesdale to accept their sin. Pearl is the beautiful daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She?s the living symbol of The Scarlet Letter and has unique traits that make her sometimes appear as a demon. Pearl?s love for nature and freedom, her spirit, her loneliness and separation from the world, her wildness, her curiosity, and her innocent but symbolic comments reveal her unique personality. Pearl senses and knows things she should not, making her a symbol. Pearl is also the living symbol of Hester and Dimmesdale?s connection, as displayed in the following passage."In her was visible the tie that united them. She had been offered to the world, these seven years past, as the living hieroglyphic, in which was revealed the secret they so darkly sought to hide, -- all written in this symbol, -- all plainly manifest, -- had there been a prophet or magician skilled to read the character of flame! And Pearl was the oneness of their being"(Hawthorne 141.) In the beginning, Pearl symbolized the shame of Hester's public punishment for adultery. As Pearl grew older, she symbolized the break of Hester's life and mental state by harassing her mother over the scarlet ?A' which is embroidered on her dress. Pearl is a symbol for Hester's scarlet letter. Hawthorne shows that Pearl represents the scarlet letter not only symbolically but literally as well. Hester says that Pearl is the living scarlet letter, and causes Hester more anguish than the scarlet letter itself. Pearl simply wants her mom to realize that she is not the worst person in the world. Hester views herself as the worst sinner and Pearl can sense this.Pearl is also a symbol for Dimmesdale as she is for Hester. In Pearl?s eyes, until Dimmesdale acts like her father, she?d no longer accept him in her life. So in order to act like a father, Dimmesdale must accept his sin and be open to the public. "?But wilt thou promise,' asked...

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