The Symbols Of Good And Evil In The Scarlet Letter

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Mistakes are a natural part of everyone’s life. However serious that mistake is can be a major factor in the way one’s life turns out. They can be a measure of what a good and acceptable mistake is and what is considered evil. People often have different opinions on what is good and what is evil. Specifically, the Puritan community around the 1700s had very strict views on what they considered the “right” way to live. In the historical fiction novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses the development of the different colors red, black, and white to portray his ideas of good and evil in the puritan town. He uses the colors to symbolize specific elements of the book including the Scarlet Letter "A", Roger Chillingworth, and …show more content…
From the title, clearly the Scarlet Letter "A" is a big symbol of the color red throughout the entire book. At first it represents shame and alienates the person that wears it from the rest of the community. In the book Hester, the main character, gets shamed in the Puritan town after having an affair and getting pregnant with at first unknown Reverend Dimmesdale after her husband Roger Chillingworth had disappeared. After having the child with her spouse away, the town recognizes the crime she has committed, puts her on the scaffold and brands her with the Scarlet Letter "A". This letter "A" is seen as a symbol of evil at the time. “It was almost intolerable to be borne of an impulsive and passionate nature; she had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult” (Hawthorne, 53). The Scarlet Letter is affecting Hester greatly. She feels she is the outcast of the community; living in the woods on the very outskirts of town. The citizens of the area continuingly gawk and gossip about Hester. The letter "A" is representing the evil brought upon her that is separating her from the rest of society. Also the "A" reminds her daily of the act she has committed known as adultery. This is a major sin, seen as evil by the Puritans. The red letter "A" represents the evil the Puritans believe Hester has contacted by committing the sin of …show more content…
The color, still shown by the Scarlet Letter "A", now does not shame Hester but rather accepts her in the community. It has been seven years since Hester had first stepped onto the scaffold and the people are finally ignoring the original meaning of the letter "A". “Such helpfulness was found in her- so much power to do and power to sympathize that many people refused to interpret the scarlet “A” by its original signification. They said it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne with a woman’s strength” (Hawthorne, 141). The people’s view of Hester has now changed. In the beginning, the Scarlet Letter "A" stands for “adultery”. It shows the evil and sin Hester has committed. Now the “A” stands for “Able”. The people are now realizing that Hester has much to offer the community and is actually very helpful. The meaning of the letter has now let go of the evil and can be seen as good. Toward the ending of the book however, traces of both good and evil can be

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