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"The Scarlet Letter" By Nathaniel Hawthorne.

1152 words - 5 pages

To read a book, is to plunge into a dark abyss, not knowing what is next and not knowing if or when an end is near. But just words written on paper do not do this to one's mind. A book needs creativity, imagination, it needs to make the mind think and wonder what is actually happening. A book needs to stretch away from reality, or just put a weird twist to it. One way of doing that is shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne uses symbolism to add a twist to his novel. Symbolism is a way of attributing symbols to objects, events, or relationships. Often symbolism is used to expand one's intellect and tickle their mind. Even if Hawthorne meant the symbolism to be perceived in one way, between people the results may shift, expand, or differ from the way intended. He used symbolism to have a greater general meaning to the book and to add depth to his characters. In the Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses the colors of red, black, and white along with the contrast of light and darkness to symbolize Hester's emotions and the emotions of those around her.The most frequently used color symbol by Hawthorne is red. Red is often used in novels to show passion, love, or sin. Red represents Hester's sin, as shown by her scarlet "A" she is forced to wear for committing adultery. Her scarlet letter, like her sin, is something she is required for all time to live with and is something she neither can nor will ever escape. As a Puritan punishment, Hester will be reminded everyday of the sin that she committed, for the community will always shun her. Pearl, the product of Hester's sin, is usually dressed in red clothing, acting as a real live reminder to Hester, representing the sin. Pearl is also called the names "Coral, "Ruby," or "red Rose", further proving Pearl as a red symbol of Hester's sin. Red is employed by Hawthorne to show passion and sensuality. The sin is also represented by the letter "A" being formed in the sky by meteors, which frightened Dimmesdale. It made him feel guilty and as though it was telling him to confess himself while he was on the scaffold. Dimmesdale saw the "A" in the sky as a reminder while the rest of the community saw the "A" as a symbol representing "Angels". The first encounter with the color red is the description of the wild red rosebush growing outside the prison where Hester was imprisoned. This is representing Hester's dignity and passion, which was growing in a place where it was not accepted and doesn't fit, similar to how Hester's passion was not accepted with the Puritan society. As the sunlight shines through a red and yellow window in the governor's house, a red light shines throughout the room. This could be symbolizing Hester's passion spreading throughout the Puritan society.Other than the color red, Hawthorne uses the color black and darkness as symbols throughout the novel. Black is often used to represent evil and hiding. Hawthorne calls the prison the "black flower of civilized society,"...

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