The Scarlett Letter Essay

1204 Words Mar 1st, 2013 5 Pages
Alyissa Li Brown
Mrs. Dick
American Literature
October 19, 2012
The Many Shades of Red The color red: it is beautiful, rich, and full of meaning. It represents many different things in today’s world such as love, danger, and revenge. Similarly, in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the color red is especially prominent. Color is important in this novel because every color has symbolic meaning behind it. This device of symbolism is used well in the novel, especially through the color red. It is the most important color because it is used the most, in the title of the book, and the color of the ‘A’. The color red symbolizes passion, shame and ultimately love. In The Scarlet Letter, it begins with a detailed
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Hester was finally filled with life again when she did so and the following quote shows how she felt: “A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale” (218). This quote shows Hester beginning to be passionate again because the red color on her cheeks was coming back. When Hester removes the scarlet letter, she is so elated and her cheeks that had long been pale before were no longer pale. This is the first time she has been passionate in awhile.
The next thing the color red symbolizes is shame. When Hester publicly receives her letter ‘A’, there is a lot of shame she feels because all eyes are on her. The following quote shows Hester blushing as she stood in front of a crowd: “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her towns-people and neighbors” (55). The burning blush symbolizes shame. As Hester stands before a crowd receiving her stigma of shame, her cheeks blush with a burn meaning her cheeks turn red because she is feeling shame. Hester accepts this punishment because she flashes that “haughty smile” at the townspeople showing them she’s not afraid to wear the ‘A’. In this way, Hester will not let the stigma conquer her.
The letter ‘A’, which is also red, symbolizes

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