Forest, And Water And Symbolism In Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses many symbols, for example the sunshine, the forest, and water. Symbols of things would be the scarlet letter itself and the symbols of places would be like the scaffold. Finally, symbols of people would include Dimmesdale and Pearl, also being a symbol, are one of the heavily symbolized characters in the book. Some of these symbols can help characters understand their lives or even foreshadow events that appear later in the story..
In this novel, the symbols are used frequently throughout the novel and help the reader understand the book bit by bit with each characters’ input. Some of the major symbols are Dimmesdale having his hand over his heart, Pearl, and the scarlet letter itself. The scarlet letter
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"Mother, said little Pearl, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on you bosom" (165). In this quote, Pearl notices that the sun will not shine on Hester, just as warmth and friendship will not due to the scarlet letter. The sunshine here can be referred to as God’s love for religious meaning because God’s love is a strong and powerful thing. Nothing can come above God’s love, where His love will accept people and care for them. Hawthorne uses water to symbolize the spirit of both Hester and of Pearl. The sea symbolizes Hester, as the narrator says, “But the sea heaved, swelled and foamed, very much at its own will, or subject only to the tempestuous wind, with hardly any attempts at regulation by human law” ( 219). The brook symbolizes Pearl, "Continually, indeed, as it stole onward, the streamlet kept up a babble, kind, quiet, soothing but melancholy" ( 168). As it said in the quote, Pearl is kind, quiet, and soothing, which definitely fits her …show more content…
Since the scarlet letter is punishment for Hester’s sin, the scarlet letter’s religious meaning is being associated with the devil, in which Hester is later said to be by Pearl when Pearl asks about the Black Man. Because of the letter, Hester becomes lonely and is named an outcast to the entire town and its people. Hester eventually develops the idea that she needs to stay and be the ridicule of the townspeople because she deserves it for her committed crime of adultery. Dimmesdale shows his pain through his failing health. "the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail" ( 119), this was his own way to show the pain that was caused by his sin of adultery that he never confessed and his own figurative scarlet letter. However, it is unknown if Dimmesdale did make a scarlet letter of his own, but it was hinted throughout the novel, such as his hand constantly being over his heart.Clearly, the scarlet letter is the symbol of Hester and Dimmesdale’s pain. Finally, the scaffold is the symbol of redemption and judgment. In Chapter 3, this chapter illustrates the symbolism of the scaffold where Hester is sentenced to stand on the scaffold for three hours to stand before God to receive judgment; "she will be a living sermon against sin" (59). As noted in the quote, the religious meaning for the scaffold is God taking judgement upon someone. At the end,

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