Symbols In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter'

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Symbols can be used in any type of literary text. Whether it is a short poem, or a novel or an epic, symbol can be used throughout to show a deeper meaning within the text. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter, is no different. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne uses a multitude of various symbol to allow the reader to interpret many different aspects of the novel in different ways. Hawthorne’s brilliance in the use of symbol even extends into the names of his characters, such as Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. At first, the meaning of the names of the characters is not exceedingly conspicuous, however, by the end of the novel, it is evident to the reader that the names hold a much deeper meaning than in most novels. Nevertheless, the most …show more content…
At the beginning of the novel, the reader is filled in on many actions which have taken place within the past few months. It is learned that Hester Prynne has had an affair with a man from the village while in wedlock to a husband who has not been seen in several years. Hester is demanded to confess to the leaders whom it was that she had engaged with, but she would not disclose this information to the men. She therefore had to face all of the consequences alone. Of the consequences, which included being exiled from the village, Hester was required to wear a scarlet A on her blouse wherever she went. To all of the people that saw this letter, they at once knew what it stood for, adultery. Due to this, it was hard for Hester to find work so she was able to feed not only herself, but also her young daughter Pearl, the result of her affair. In this way, adultery is a very influential meaning of the letter A, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet …show more content…
At the start of the novel, everyone regards Hester Prynne as a disgrace. Not only did she cheat on her husband whom had paid for her to travel to the New World, but she also wouldn’t relay to the political leaders of the community who it was that she had had an affair with. Along with this, she was also raising a child that was a product of her betrayal to her husband, only adding to the dislike that the citizens already held for her. Yet, due to the actions that take place throughout the novel, the scarlet letter begins to represent an entirely different aspect of Hester Prynne’s life. It proves to the people around her that she is an able woman. She lives on her own for the duration of the entire story, and provides for both herself and her daughter. She never asks for help from others and does not get paid extra for her work. In fact, most people pay her less for her services than they would a woman who did work of lesser value, but were not decorated with the scarlet A. Due to this, it only adds to the idea that Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter comes to represent not adultery by the end of the novel, but rather,

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