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Symbolism Used In The Scarlet Letter

1263 words - 5 pages

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, symbolsim is constantly present in the actual scarlet letter “A” as it is viewed as a symbol of sin and the gradally changes its meanign, guilt is also a mejore symbol, and Pearl’s role in this novel is symbolic as well. The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and crucial symbols. these devices of symbolism are best portayed in the novel, most noticably through the letter “A” best exemplifies the changes in the symbolic meaning throughout the novel.
In the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, the letter is understood as a label of punishment and sin being publicized. Hester Prynne bears the label of “A” signifining adulterer upon her chest. Because of this scorching red color label she becomes the outcast of her society. She wears this symbol of punishment and it become a burden throughout her life. The letter “produces only a reflection of her scarlet letter; likewise, the townspeople's image of Hester revolves around her sin. The evil associated with Hester's actions and the letter on her chest consume all aspects of her life, concealing her true beauty, mind, and soul” (R. Warfel 421-425). Society pushed blame upon Hester Prynne, and these events lead to the change of her life. The Puritans whom Prynne is surround by view the letter as a symbol from the devil, controversially some individuals look upon the letter, sigh and fell sympathy towards her because they have or are involved in this same situation. Nonetheless the haunting torture Hester Prynne battles daily drags on, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows this torture “of an impulse and passionate nature. She had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely wreaking itself in every variety of insult but there was a quality so much more terrible in the solemn mood of popular mind, that she longed rather be behold all those rigid countenances contorted with scornful merriment and herself the object.” The implication of Hester sin is of the red letter embroidered on her chest but also of a bearing of a child, and the father of the child amongst society but remains a mystery.
As the novel progresses the meaning of the symbolism of the letter “A” starts ti blossom into a new meaning. Toward the climax of the novel Hester Prynne’s appearance is altered to where she is no longer viewed as a sinner. The meaning on the symbol changes from of the devil to a some what vague symbol, as if it has lost its initial connotation. Society now views her a symbol that differs whom she really is, she is viewed as a strong woman through all the torment that is put in a unfortunate situation. At this point Hester has already learned how to dealt with the burden of the scarlet letter. Withstanding the pressures of society boiling down waiting patiently for Hester Prynne to crack, she does not, she grows into a stronger woman. A woman that has gone through hell and back and continues to thrive in her society even under the circumstances she...

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