Symbols In The Scarlet Letter

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The Effects of Symbolism The Scarlet Letter is the magnum opus of Nathaniel Hawthorne and one of the most groundbreaking creations in American literature. As Hawthorne takes a society established to be a role model for all other immigrants like a City upon a Hill, he challenged the religious and political basis that formed our great nation. Simultaneously he discusses the morality, and moreover the immorality of the human race as a whole. The Scarlet Letter as a whole is an allegory of sin and the effects that sin has on the human condition. Expressed in the very first chapter of the novel, the puritans centered their lives, both physically and mentally, on the ideas and beliefs behind the prison and the cemetery. While Hawthorne centered …show more content…
Almost every work of literature has one variation on this theme, but Hawthorne plays with the emotions and views of his readers subconsciously through the physical representation of good and evil. “‘Mother,’ said little Pearl, ‘the sunshine doesn’t love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom.” (Hawthorne 95) The clearest representation of good and evil is the time old representation to lightness and darkness. This is an allusion to the book of genesis in the bible “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light and that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4) From the beginning of time humans have feared the dark because of the unknown, forever associating it with bad and evil connotations. Consequently, the human mind associates lightness with purity and kindness. It is said that children see things in the truest light because of their lack of corruption. Hawthorne is using Pearl to show the reader that for as long as Hester wears the A, or in other words holds her sin near her heart, there will be no hope for her to be pure again. Because of this representation, Hawthorne is expressing his personal beliefs through this symbol that the only way to progress from a sin is to repent and let go. As long as Hester wears the physical representations of her sin, she will continue to be defined as such. Another representation of this progression from sin is Dimmesdale’s deteriorating condition. Dimmesdale has committed the same sin, but Hester and he are in two very different phases in the evolution process as he has not repented for his sin, therefore stuck in interior conflict with himself until he address his sin straight

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