Scarlet Letter Symbolism

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Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the entirety of The Scarlet Letter to show the importance and meaning of several people, objects, and things. Hawthorne utilizes these precious symbols throughout the novel for various reasons. While some symbols only have one distinct meaning, others are ambiguous, unlocking the secrets of a story. For example, Hester’s beloved scarlet letter “A”, the most obvious symbol in the narrative, takes on many meanings, such as shame, punishment, and defiance. The dark forest represents both sin and freedom while the rosebush represents loneliness and passion. Even the sunshine has a deeper meaning than just brightness. The many ambiguous symbols and archetypes Hawthorne utilizes in The Scarlet Letter …show more content…
Introduced right from the beginning of the novel, the rose bush is a symbol of a “sweet moral blossom”, referring to Hester’s sin to passion and love. In this contrast, the prison door symbolizes a place of death, where the rosebush is placed, to remind the prisoners that beauty still exists. Pearl is a representation of the rosebush in that her beauty stands out among the others surrounding her. She completely contradicts the fact that she was created out of sin based on her sheer elegance alone. In chapter 8, Wilson calls Pearl a “red rose” and when she is asked about whom she was made from, she said she had not been made at all, but had been “plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses, that grew by the prison door.”(99) #The rosebush represents hope in a time of darkness like a light at the end of a tunnel.# *Pearl is a true diamond in the rough because her innocence is concealed in the dark confinements of a …show more content…
They are the most dramatic scenes in the novel and signify the beginning, middle, and end. Each scene brings together the main characters and reveals vital information in all the moments. The first pillory scene occurs at the very beginning of the novel, when Hester innocently stands there with an infant in her arms. She has committed the “unforgivable” sin of adultery and must be publically humiliated. This scene sets the image of a solitary figure against a detrimental society in a village. The second pillory scene occurs in the middle of the book when Dimmesdale attempts to confess his sin. His half-hearted attempt results in him weeping in the dark, cool night begging Hester and Pearl to join him. As this happens, (a scintillating meteor illuminates the gloomy, unlit night sky in the shape of an A, symbolizing his own guilt.)As Dimmesdale is not yet completely ready to reveal his sin, the scene is enacted at the dead of the night with Chillingworth gazing upon them. This leads to the actual death of Dimmesdale in the third scaffold scene. The final pillory scene is where Dimmesdale’s death occurs, but he regains his soul at the same

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