Guilt, Sin, And Redemption In The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, signs of guilt, shame, sin, and redemption occur many times, but especially through the symbols of roses and rosebushes. Hester Prynne, the main sinner, is represented by these roses bushes when she walks out of the jail and a rosebush is flourishing. Through the novel Pearl and Hester are both referred to as “a wild rose-bush” at some point (Hawthorne 46). Unlike her mother, Pearl is not a sinner, but merely a symbol of Hester’s sin. Pearl also is represented by the rosebush outside of the jail, and she is also represented by the roses that she desperately cries for at the Governor’s house. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the roses and rosebushes suggest that a beautiful redemption …show more content…
Throughout the novel, roses and rosebushes not only represent Hester’s sin, shame, and guilt, but also her redemption. The red color of the roses represents the sin of adultery Hester has committed, and because of that she must wear a symbol of her adultery, the scarlet letter, across her chest, which is red like the roses. The roses also represent her much loved child, Pearl, because the roses stood outside when Pearl went outside for the first time. Since she was born in prison, Pearl did not walk outside until she was older, and when she did Hester came across the roses and rosebushes outside of the jail, which represent the beauty of her and her daughter. Pearl states that “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”(Hawthorne 102). Through Peals conclusion, she is saying that she is not a product of adultery, but merely a beautiful flower that her mother had plucked for herself. Because of Pearl, Hester’s beautiful sin, the roses represent her in yet another way. The color of the roses represents the shame and sin from Hester’s life. The redness in the roses is alike to the color of the scarlet letter she must wear, as a sign of public shame because of her sin and shame. The roses and their color symbolize redemption in Hester’s life also. Red symbolizes the hardships that Hester …show more content…
The roses and rosebushes demonstrate Pearl’s beauty, and making Hester a better person. When Hester and Pearl walk out of the jail together, the rose bush growing outside of the jail door represents Pearl in several ways. This rosebush is the first sign of Pearl’s beauty through hard times and rough patches in her life. For example, when Hester and Pearl are walking out of prison “on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush” (Hawthorne 46). This passage from the novel summarizes the rosebush and tells that roses are the symbols of Pearl, since this is only her first experience outside and is the first thing she sees. Sin, Pearl, and roses accurately describe each other. Pearl was a product of Hester and Dimmesdale’s “mutual sin of adultery in a strict Puritan society,” and rose are a symbol of sin in the novel, since “they are both suffering under, while attempting to come to terms with, their sin” (“Scarlet Letter” 312). Shame is another aspect of the sin Pearl was created by and still faces because of her parents. Pearl has no reason for guilt or shame, since she is so young, but because her parents are so often faces with it, she has definitely felt shame and guilt at some point in her life. Hester and Dimmesdale’s greatest shame is Pearl, until her personality blooms into the beautiful flower she truly is. The

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