Essay on Analysis Of The Book ' The Scarlet Letter '

1159 Words 5 Pages
The Scarlet Letter is a novel filled with intriguing intricacies and convoluted symbolism. In the beginning of the book, Hester Prynne confesses to the sin of adultery, and is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest as a mark of shame. Hester’s scarlet letter, although at first treated by others with contempt and anger at Hester, causes Hester to become a better and more philanthropic over time, effectively increasing her reputation in society. By the end of the book, after the death of Hester, the scarlet “A” becomes a sacred legend, and the Puritans treat it with honor. The meaning of Hester’s scarlet letter is significantly altered throughout the novel; the letter is used to symbolize and identify the themes of sin and shame, strength, and grace. In the primary stages after her confession to adultery, Hester’s scarlet A is a symbol for sin and shame. The Puritan townspeople frown upon Hester’s wrongdoing and treat her letter as a disgraceful stigma. While various townspeople are humiliating and demanding of a larger punishment for Hester in the marketplace, one woman says: “‘O, peace, neighbours, peace!’ whispered their youngest companion. ‘Do not let her hear you! Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart’” (51). This woman is indicating that a lifetime of wearing the scarlet A is an appropriate punishment, and a greater penalty is superfluous. The scarlet A will inflict tremendous shame and remorse on Hester for her sin of…

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