Symbolism Of The Letter 'a' Throughout "The Scarlet Letter"

1445 words - 6 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and importantsymbols. This device of symbolism is portrayed well in the novel, especially through thescarlet letter 'A'. The 'A' is the best example because of the changes in the meaningthroughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter 'A' is viewed as asymbol of sin. The middle of the novel is a transition period, where the scarlet letter 'A'is viewed differently.In the commencement of the novel, the letter is taken as a label of punishment andsin. Hester Prynne bears the label of the letter upon her chest. She stands as a label of anoutcast in front of society. She is wearing this symbol to burden her with punishmentthroughout her life. She stands on a plank where her punishment is given, ''Thus she willbe a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon hertombstone''(59). Society places its blames upon this woman. It is because of this oneletter that Hester's life is changed. The letter's meaning in Puritan society banishes herfrom her normal life. The Puritans view this letter as a symbol of the devil. The letter alsoput Hester through torture:'Of an impulse and passionate nature. She had fortified herself toencounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely wreakingitself in every variety of insult but there was a quality so much more terriblein the solemn mood of popular mind, that she longed rather to behold allthose rigid countenances contorted with scornful merriment and herself theobject'(54).This implies that Hester's sin of bearing a child without the presence of a husband willalways be remembered.In the middle of the novel is a transition period where the letter 'A' is vieweddifferently than before. In this section of the novel, Hester's appearance is altered towhere she is no longer seen as a person of sin. The letter changes from a symbol of sin toa more vague symbol. Society now sees Hester as a person who is strong yet bears asymbol which differs herself. At this point, Hester has learned to deal with the letter. Shehas grown stronger from it; she is able to withstand the pressures of society. As she growstronger, her personality becomes more opposed to being seen as a sinner. The letter'smeaning has changed, 'Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed tolove, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling ofhostility'(147). This foreshadows the future events of the novel.Another view of the letter is that it portrays guilt. It portrays the guilt ofDimmesdale, the father of Hester's child. Hester has learned to deal with her punishmentand grow stronger from it, but Dimmesdale, who went unpunished and is a respectableman in the Puritan society, must now live with the guilt of having a child 'illegally'. Thisguilt helps him to become weaker as novel continues:'Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if theuniverse were gazing at a...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism of the letter 'A' throughout "The Scarlet Letter"

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Essay

1832 words - 8 pages woman. Nathaniel Hawthorne evolves the scarlet letter into many elements that transform it into a prideful symbol. In doing so, Hawthorne makes a social commentary on Puritan society by implying they view things in one way. Additionally, he uses the scarlet letter to show good and evil are essentially the same. Although the true story of Hester Prynne, Pearl, and the scarlet letter may still be unknown, Hawthorne’s use of symbolism causes the reader

Symbolism in the scarlet letter Essay

567 words - 3 pages Symbolism In The Scarlet LetterPicture this, you just finish a book and you think to your self, what did it mean? Well, if you are lucky they book symbolized something. Without symbols, writing is just an organized mass of meaningless words. Symbolism in writing is the deepness and hidden meaning in a piece of work. The novel "The Scarlet Letter" written by Nathaniel Hawthorne has many symbols entwined into it, making it very captivating story

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

1270 words - 5 pages Symbolism can be defined as a figure, character, or object that is used to represent complex or abstract ideas. By expressing an idea in the form of an image, the reader can visualize the concept more concretely. The old expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” applies to symbolism as the author creates a visual representation of ideas. The use of symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter helps to illuminate the overall

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

2319 words - 9 pages Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter "The common definition says that a symbol is a sign or token of something… We take symbols like these pretty much for granted. They are a part of everyday experience. In literature, matters are a little more complicated. Literary symbols usually don’t have instantly recognizable meanings. Rather they take their meanings from the work of which they are part" ("The Scarlet Letter" 8). An example of

Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

726 words - 3 pages The Scarlet Letter makes a great example of the result of adultary and the following problems through the rising action of the two main characters Hester and Dimsdale. Hester is able to aproach her sins and work towards the problems and is rewarded with coming to peace with her past. Dimsdale, on the other side, weighted with the guilt for what he has done slides go into despair without hope of recovery. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter

Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter

916 words - 4 pages ' on his chest. The townspeople believe it means angel in honor of Governor Winthrop who had died. The differing interpretations reflect the belief that personal experience filters symbolic meaning for each individual.Conclusion: Symbolism is the main writing skill which is used in the Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne used a lot of symbols to reflect the life of Puritans and his rebel to Puritanism. In this article, the author studied two main symbols and four inconspicuous symbols in the Scarlet Letter in different angles. Symbolism makes his novel more attractive and makes Hawthorne's thoughts more profound.

Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter

916 words - 4 pages ' on his chest. The townspeople believe it means angel in honor of Governor Winthrop who had died. The differing interpretations reflect the belief that personal experience filters symbolic meaning for each individual.Conclusion: Symbolism is the main writing skill which is used in the Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne used a lot of symbols to reflect the life of Puritans and his rebel to Puritanism. In this article, the author studied two main symbols and four inconspicuous symbols in the Scarlet Letter in different angles. Symbolism makes his novel more attractive and makes Hawthorne's thoughts more profound.

Symbolism in the Scarlet Letter

1206 words - 5 pages In the novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne symbolism is used to represent the evolution of the characters primarily that of Hester Prynne. Two of these symbols as they are used repeatedly create underlying truths telling their own story of growth and understanding as sunshine and the letter "A" bring to light who Hester Prynne truly is. The first and perhaps the most obvious use of symbolism in the novel follows the progression

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter - 564 words

564 words - 2 pages In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author presents three symbols that all reinforce the main idea of the novel. The main idea that reoccurred throughout the novel is that people don’t have to let their mistakes or circumstances determine who they are or what they become; it’s all in how one interprets life. Many symbols may seem as just an ordinary character or coincidental object to some readers, but the symbols have a deeper

Symbolism in "The Scarlet Letter"

1051 words - 4 pages From fairy tales to mythologies, fables to romance to even the simplest short stories of a third grader’s book, almost all of them often comprise a scheme of Heroes vs. Villains, and Good vs. Evil. Similarly, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne also contains many of the same situations and characters with their own symbolic meanings that allow them to express strong and demanding feelings through the symbols that they carry. Hester Prynne

The Scarlet Allegory: The Symbolism of the Scarlet Letter

1044 words - 5 pages its symbolism. Throughout The Scarlet Letter, the eponymous scarlet letter assumes the role as a beautiful symbol of sin and adultery, a material representation of Pearl, and a manifestation of holiness and strength. At the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, the scarlet A represents a more obvious and linear concept: adultery. In the Puritan era, committing the sinful act of adultery is illegal and punishable by a variety of condemnations. When

Similar Essays

A Summary Of The Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

5169 words - 21 pages year later because he has nothing left to live for. The poor forlorn creature is more wretched than his victim is --- the avenger had devoted himself.2.4 PearlPearl is one of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book, the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops into a dynamic symbol - one that is always changing. Pearl was a source of many different kinds of symbolism. From being a living scarlet letter, to a

A Summary Of The Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

4811 words - 19 pages .2.4 PearlPearl is one of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book,the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops intoa dynamic symbol - one that is always changing. Pearl was a source of manydifferent kinds of symbolism. From being a living scarlet letter, to avaluable thing with high price, then to the moral in this novel. She wasa kind of burden, yet love for Hester.The most significant symbolic meaning of

A Summary Of The Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

4796 words - 19 pages PearlPearl is one of the most complex and misunderstood symbols in the book,the daughter of Hester Prynne. Pearl, throughout the story, develops intoa dynamic symbol - one that is always changing. Pearl was a source of manydifferent kinds of symbolism. From being a living scarlet letter, to avaluable thing with high price, then to the moral in this novel. She wasa kind of burden, yet love for Hester.The most significant symbolic meaning of Pearl in

The Scarlet Letter: An Analysis Of Symbolism

1775 words - 7 pages woman. Nathaniel Hawthorne evolves the scarlet letter into many elements that transform it into a prideful symbol. In doing so, Hawthorne makes a social commentary on Puritan society by implying they view things in one way. Additionally, he uses the scarlet letter to show good and evil are essentially the same. Although the true story of Hester Prynne, Pearl, and the scarlet letter may still be unknown, Hawthorne’s use of symbolism causes the