The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1338 Words Mar 13th, 2016 6 Pages
The novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes place in the Puritan Age during the 17th century. Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is isolated from society for committing adultery with Dimmesdale and is forced to live a life of shame and judgement. The scarlet letter “A” that burns upon her chest is a continuous reminder of her sin. Throughout his novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of symbolism with the scarlet letter “A” reflects the overall theme that individualism will lead to freedom of one 's self from society.
The scarlet letter “A” is a significant symbol that holds multiple meanings throughout the novel. In the beginning, the letter is seen as nothing more than a symbol of her sin. Hester wears it in pure shame as society frowns upon her disgraceful actions. Her affair with Dimmesdale causes Hester just about a lifetime’s worth of guilt that can not be forgiven. During the Puritan Age, the devil played a tremendous role on the peoples beliefs. It was believed that every negative aspect of life was desired by the devil himself. This allows Hester to reveal to her daughter, Pearl, “ ‘Once in my life I met the Black Man!....This scarlet letter is his mark’ “ (Hawthorne, 168). This is a huge indication that the letter is thought to be a result of her sin. Furthermore, a major factor that increases the pain of Hester’s s sin is the judgemental society. Everyone knew the letter’s significance, which causes the scarlet letter to define Hester as the one who…

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