The Use Of Light And Dark Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's "The Scarlet Letter", the reader is drawn into a world of hidden passion, the vengeance of a broken heart, and secret sin. Of course, such things come with great emotional and physical repercussions. Throughout the novel, the effects of secret sin can indefinitely be seen in main characters such as Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth. Hawthorne depicts the emotional and physical effect of secret sin in not only literal ways, but specifically with light and dark imagery and symbolism. From the beginning to the end, the reader will see how characters are inflicted by their burdens and how it changes them. The main character, Hester Prynne, is a symbol in herself. Not only is she a symbol, …show more content…
Hawthorne transitions Hester from light to dark, which can easily be detected due to his consistent use of imagery. Hester transitions due to the burden of the scarlet letter burning upon her bosom. At one time she was a ray of sunshine herself, but the scarlet letter and Pearl diminished her light, seemingly even absorbing it themselves. In fact, Hawthorne describes it as if the sun flees from her. On page 144, Hawthorne shows this to the reader. "Mother," said little Pearl, "the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your …show more content…
The first time the reader sees a glimpse of his darkness is on page 52. Hawthorne wrote, "A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them..." The author gives us a strong allusion to the Bible, as in the book of Genesis there is snake who represents the devil himself. This again brings for irony due to Pearl referring to him as "the Black Man" (page 107), when she did not even know who he was nor of his true character. "The Scarlett Letter" teaches its readers that a guilty conscience, whether public or hidden, can bare grave consequences not only upon the guilty, but those close to them as well. Although the text is over one-hundered years old, it undoubtedly still applies to our society and the fragile hearts within it. The novel clearly spells out what repercussions people may face due to a moments passionate decision just as Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth faced. Sometimes though, a lesson cannot be learned until it is branded into one 's mind by

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