The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter In The Scarlet Letter the author uses several symbolic things. He uses the rose bush that is in the midst of all the grayness. Pearl, Hesters’ daughter is also a symbol. The scarlet A that Hester has to wear is a symbol that she is an adulteress. The author goes on to describe these in great detail.

The setting in this puritan town, Boston, the author describes everything as being gray. Everything sounds so depressing, but he talks about this rose bush right next to the prison. It symbolizes that nature has some kind of sympathy for these criminals. The rose bush is so beautiful, yet it is outside of a prison.

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Hester had a daughter, Pearl.Pearl is a child of Dimmesdale, which is not Hesters’ husband. Pearl is very beautiful, yet she is often referred to as a demon child.

Pearl is very violent, she throws rocks at the other kids. She is symbolic because she was conceived in a very ugly situation, but she is a very beautiful kid. Another symbolic thing is the scarlet A that Hester has to wear.She wears it to let everybody know that she is an adulteress. An A on her clothes changes the way people think of Hester.

Something so insignificant such as a piece of cloth changes a whole life and causes a whole lifetime of pain and suffering.

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, delivers a powerful novel invoked with symbolism. Centered on Hester, a woman branded with a scarlet A as a mark for adultery, much of the Scarlet Letters symbolism grows from the cruel, and shameful letter.

The A symbolizes the walking emblem of shame. (Hawthorne 6). Throughout the novel, the brand of disgust evolves around the characters influenced by Hester, including her illegitimate child Pearl.

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Even Pearl is subject to the shame her mother has bore, and is also shunned from the strict Puritan society.The close of the novel reveals that the symbol has given Hester strength to redeem her sin, rather then brake her spirits. The adulterous mark is almost replaced by the community as able due to Hesters deeds to the community. Scarlet Letter also uses nature’s flowers as a way to symbolize growth in the novel.

The opening chapter describes a rosebush growing by the prison. It shows how even a beautiful flower like the rose can be judged as sacrificial, with its petals near the jail.This relates to Hester, as her beautiful character is judged by sin, not by actions. Later in the novel, Chillingworth, Hesters husband, expresses to let the black flower blossom as it may.

(Hawthorne 14). This reoccurrence of the flower shows how Chillingworth accepts his tortuous soul. The flower’s bloom is a direct symbol for the growth of character in Scarlet Letter.Clothing is a final source Hawthorne uses to symbolize.

In chapter 7, Pearl is dressed in a red gown, with gold trim. The dress of Pearl is almost identical to the brand Hester must endure, with her scarlet brand. Chillington is dressed in black, which gives an insight into his sinister character, as revealed in chapter 14. Also, the use of bright color, like red, and gold expresses how different Hester and Pearl are viewed by the Puritan society, which mainly dresses in plain, emotionless colors.The brand of sin is reflected in all the aspects of Hesters life, which show how clothing in Scarlet Letter drastically reflects situation, and character.

Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter gives a tremendous impression on the reader, filled with oppression, and historical opinion of the Puritans. Unfortunately, as the novel appears to mirror reality, situations in the storyline leave the reader skeptical about the actual ability to perform these actions. Hesters sudden removal of the scarlet brand bestowed upon her seems very unrealistic, considering it took seven years to remove it so quickly, and carefree. It almost makes the symbol of the scarlet letter obsolete at the end of the chapter 18, leaving insinuation that the letter did not have as much influence as formerly expressed.

The Scarlet Letter also confuses the reader during chapters after 20.The final pages of the novel give a completely different perspective. Generally focused on the main characters, during chapter 21, and 22, the market gives a more broad insight into the community. While it makes for interesting reading, the sudden change of perspective leaves the reader strayed from the main characters, like Hester, and Pearl.

The Scarlet Letter is a very intriguing novel, for anyone looking to find a tale of Puritan life, and the harsh reality of the times. Overall, the Scarlet Letter delivers an exciting, and interesting view for all readers.

The Scarlet Letter

Wheeler 1Jean WheelerMrs. SearbyAmerican Studies 315, Section 12 October 1998Undoubtedly our actions affect our consciousness and often this reflects back on our later actions. If we do something good we are usually happy and in a good mood. However, if we do something bad, we often regret it, showing remorse for it, and act to avoid doing it again.

But psychologically do we punish our selves? If so, do we do it consciously, or does our subconscious get the best of us and start to change us? Piece by piece the guilt will eat away at us, changing us physically and psychologically, changing our interactions with others, and our basic way of life. The Scarlet Letter relates how acts of sin and repentance cause great psychological changes which affect peoples physical appearance and behavior.Hester Prynne sinned once, but once was enough to change her for the rest of her life. Hester committed adultery with Reverend Dimmesdale and was punished by the town, which made her wear a scarlet A upon her clothes and stand in front of the whole town on the scaffold. Hester also punished herself. She isolated herself from the town and repented her sin for the rest of her life. Hesters self-inflicted punishment was a good punishment, though.

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She admitted her sin and got it off her conscious. She did not try to hide or run from her sin, because she knew that she could not escape it. She knew that the only way the sin would be removed from her was with time and repentance. Wheeler 2Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because of the result of martyrdom. (Hawthorne 57)Later Hester leaves Boston with Pearl, but returns after Pearls marriage to repent her sin because once again she feels she cannot escape it. Because of this psychological barrier she puts on herself, Hester physically transforms herself to play the part of the sinner. Even the attractiveness of her person had undergone a similar change (113). She dressed herself in dull colors and hides her rich and luxuriant hair (113).

She put her heart into repenting her sin, Hawthorne demonstrates this through the scarlet letter. Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart (39). There are times where Hester feels hurt and considers leaving, but deep inside she knows that she is a sinner and she wants to repent for it. A big part of her generous character and the interactions with others comes from how she sees herself and what she does about it.Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale also sinned but, unlike Hester, he did not get caught. Hesters character and mentality comes from being able to share and repent her sin. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, hides his sin for seven years. He is tortured by his conscience and inflicts punishment upon himself.

To repent he plies a bloody scourge to his shoulders, fasts until he gets weak, and keeps himself up at night thinking about his sin and the fact that he is the reason Hester has been punished (101). Wheeler 3Throughout the book, Dimmesdales character mentally gets weaker and weaker. This is partly due to him not being able to fully repent his sin, but also because of Chillingworths torturing him with his knowledge of the sin. During the seven years after his sin Dimmesdale gets physically weaker too, he starts walking slower, looking sicker, and putting his band over his heart more often. His hand over his heart represents a scarlet letter for him too, only his is hidden because he does not have the strength to confess. Hawthorne never actually reveals if there was actually something over Dimmesdales heart, but if there was, it was the effect of the ever-active tooth of remorse, gnawing from he inmost hear outwardly (178). Dimmesdale never actually fully confessed to adultery, he was much too weak psychologically. He did hint many times and indirectly say it, but never said exactly.

When he died it ended his torment. He couldnt go on any longer, keeping his secret inside destroyed him physically. In The Scarlet Letter we see Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale go through immense physical and psychological changes caused by sins they had committed, However, we see Roger Chillingworth change mainly physically, but psychologically too in a huge way. but because he sinned by tormenting others.

In the first description of Chillingworth he is slightly deformed in one shoulder, but by the time of his death he seemed to have shriveled away and almost vanished from mortal sight, like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun (179). The whole purpose of his life was the pursuit and systematic exercise of revenge on the man who wronged his wife (179). The longer amount of time he has been chasing and tormenting Dimmesdale, the more he Wheeler 4starts to look deformed, and the more he starts to think and act like Satan. Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself, when a precious human soul is lost to heaven, and won into his kingdom (96-97).

He feeds his energy off of getting revenge on Dimmesdale and once Dimmesdale dies he has no purpose left to his life. He loses all his energy, he get even more deformed and eventually dies, never having repented for his premeditated sin.Psychologically everyone ends up getting punished for their sins.Hester was allowed to repent openly and her punishment was not as harsh because she admitted to it.

Dimmesdale was not allowed to repent openly but knew that he had sinned so his punishment was self-imposed. Chillingworth was strictly punished by higher powers because he just kept knowingly sinning and wouldnt even think twice about it. The psychological punishment affects daily life for the rest of their lives, even if its not a conscious effort.Wheeler 5Works CitedHawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Four American Novels.

New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc, 1959. 34-181.

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet LetterBy: Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter has four main characters, Hester Prynne, the woman accused of Adultery, Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband from Amsterdam. They are still married and no one knows that they are. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, the man who Hester committed the crime with, and Pearl.The story takes place in Boston, where Hester is accused of adultery and has to wear the letter A on her chest. Hester receives her punishment on a Scaffold.

The Reverend Dimmesdale asked Hester who the other person was that helped her commit the act of adultery with her. Hester doesn’t reply. As Hester is on the Scaffold, she is holding her child, Pearl. After a while they leave Hester on the Scaffold in the hot sun for more than one hour as part of her punishment.

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Then they took her to jail where she stayed for more than a year. While Hester and Pearl are there, Chillingworth comes into the picture and pretends that he is a doctor and goes to take care of the women and the child. There, Hester and Chillingworth talk about what happened, and asks her who is the father of this child? Hester would not tell the identity of Pearl’s father. When Hester doesn’t say, Chillingworth makes her promise that she will not tell that he is her long last husband. Hester says yes, but Chillingworth tells Hester that he will stay and he will find out the name of Pearl’s father. Then he leaves Hester and Pearl.

One year later, Hester was released from jail. Hester cannot live in town because of what happened, the town people think that Hester is evil. They don’t want her there; they use Hester as an example of what happens when a person commits a sin in the Puritan life. So now Hester lives in the country where she makes cloths in order to make a living for herself. She shows off the wonderful clothing for Pearl. Pearl, at the moment, is the only friend Hester has.

Later in the story, Hester goes to take a pair of gloves, which she made, to the governor. She sees the governor outside of the house; he is with Mr. Wilson, Arthur Dimmesdale, and old Roger Chillingworth. When they see her and Pearl, Pearl starts to act up. They walk up to them and say that they are going to take Pearl away from Hester, and make her go to church every morning. Hester refuses to let them take Pearl away from her. She pleads with them not to and she asks for Dimmesdale’s help, because he is the reverend and he knows Hester wants the best for Pearl.

So they let Pearl stay with Hester. As Hester and Pearl are leaving, Mistress Hibbins comes out from a window and asks if she will see Hester there in the woods. Hester replied by saying, “no,” but if they had taken Pearl away from her, she would gladly go with her.Dimmesdale is then getting sicker because of the sin he has committed and Chillingworth is slowly killing him. After Hester sees Dimmesdale walking, he can barely walk now because of the fact that he is dying, Hester goes to see Chillingworth and tells him that she is going to tell Dimmesdale the truth about him.

By this time Chillingworth has found out he is Pearl’s father. So Hester and Pearl go to the edge of the woods and wait for Dimmesdale to be walking by. Dimmesdale finally shows up. When Hester sees that Dimmesdale is very sick she tells him right away. Dimmesdale is mad at first because Hester didn’t tell him sooner. Then they started to talk about leaving Boston and going to Europe. There they have better hospitals that can take care of Dimmesdale.

Hester tells Dimmesdale that Pearl is starting to look like her father. Dimmesdale is worried about that because he is her father. Pearl asks Hester why Dimmesdale holds his heart and if it’s the same reason why Hester wears the letter A on her chest.Even later within the story, Dimmesdale decides to tell everyone that he is Pearl’s father and that he committed the sin with Hester. Dimmesdale does this after church is over.

He goes up there with Hester and Pearl, and tells all the town people that he has committed a sin. He tells them that he is the father of Pearl. Then Chillingworth goes and gets mad at Dimmesdale and the Dimmesdale tells everyone that Chillingworth is Hester’s husband.

Chillingworth dies after the Scaffold is decided and Dimmesdale dies one year later. Hester and Pearl end up staying in Boston.This was an extremely well written story. It gave a great example of what will happen when you commit a sin in the Puritan life. Life today is much more relaxed on the subject of Adultery, and this book shows how harsh the laws were.

I think The Scarlet Letter is well written and a part of history. I like the plot about a young woman drawn between two men. One that she once loved and the one that she loves now.

If this book, I feel, was read by many in our society now, maybe some of them will stop and more families would stay together.

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s background influenced him to write the bold novel The Scarlet Letter. One important influence on the story is money. Hawthorne had never made much money as an author and the birth of his first daughter added to the money problems. He received a job at the Salem Custom House only to lose it three years later and be forced to write again to support his family. The Scarlet Letter was published a year later, because of him being an author again. It was only intended to be a short story, but the extra money a novel would bring in was needed. Hawthorne then wrote an introduction section titled “The Custom House” to extend the length of the book and The Scarlet Letter became a full novel.

In addition to financial worries, another influence on the story is Hawthorne’s rejection of his ancestors. His forefathers were strict Puritans, and John Hathorne, his great-great-grandfather, Note. Hawthorne did not condone their acts and actually spent a great deal of his life renouncing the Puritans in general. Similarly, The Scarlet Letter was a literal “soapbox” for Hawthorne to convey to the world that the majority of Puritans were strict and unfeeling. For example, before Hester emerges from the prison she is being scorned by a group of women who feel that she deserves a larger punishment than she actually receives. Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death. Perhaps the most important influence on the story is the author’s interest in the “dark side”.

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Unlike the transcendentalists of the era, Hawthorne “confronted reality, rather than evading it”. Likewise, The Scarlet Letter deals with adultery, a subject that caused much scandal when it w! as first published. The book revolves around sin and punishment, a far outcry from writers of the time, such as Emerson and Thoreau, who dwelt on optimistic themes. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter to the develop the theme of the heart as a prison. The scaffold scenes are the most substantial situations in the story because they unify The Scarlet Letter in two influential ways. First of all, every scaffold scene reunites the main characters of the novel.

In the first scene, everyone in the town is gathered in the market place because Hester is being questioned about the identity of the father of her child. In her arms is the product of her sin, Pearl, a three month old baby who is experiencing life outside the prison for the first time. Dimmesdale is standing beside the scaffold because he is Hester’s pastor and it is his job to convince her to repent and reveal the father’s name. A short time later, Chillingworth unexpectedly shows up within the crowd of people who are watching Hester after he is released from his two year captivity by the Indians. In the second scene, Dimmesdale is standing on top of the scaffold alone in the middle of the night. He sees Hester and Pearl walk through the market place on their way back from Governor Winthrop’s bedside. When Dimmesdale recognizes them and tells them to join him, they walk up the steps to stand by his side.

Chillingworth appears later standing beside the scaffold, staring at Dimmesdale, Hester, and Pearl. In the final scaffold scene, Dimmesdale walks to the steps of the scaffold in front of the whole town after his Election day sermon. He tells Hester and Pearl to join him yet again on the scaffold. Chillingworth then runs through the crowd and tries to stop Dimmesdale from reaching the top of the scaffold, the one place where he can’t reach him. Another way in which the scenes are united is how each illustrates the immediate, delayed, and prolonged effects that the sin of adultery has on the main characters. The first scene shows Hester being publicly punished on the scaffold. She is being forced to stand on it for three hours straight and listen to peop! le talk about her as a disgrace and a shame to the community.Dimmesdale’s instantaneous response to the sin is to lie.

He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father’s best interest for her to reveal the father’s name. Though he never actually says that he is not the other parent, he implies it by talking of the father in third person. Such as, “If thou feelest it to be for thy soul’s peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer”. Chillingworth’s first reaction is one of shock, but he quickly suppresses it. Since his first sight of his wife in two years is of her being punished for being unfaithful to him, he is naturally surprised. It does not last for long though, because it is his nature to control his emotions. Pearl’s very existence in this scene is the largest immediate effect of her parents’ crime.

She obviously would never had been there had her parents resisted their love for each other. The second scene occurs several years later and shows the effects after time has had a chance to play its part. It begins with Dimmesdale climbing the stairs of the scaffold in the middle of the night because it is the closest that he can come to confessing his sin. This scene is especially important because it shows how pitiful he has become. Dimmesdale shows just how irrational he is when he screams aloud because he fears that the universe is staring at a scarlet token on his breast. It also shows how much guilt he is carrying by the way he perceives the light from a meteor as the letter A.

He believes it stands for adulteress while other people think it stands for angel since the governor just passed away. This scene also shows how Hester is managing her new situation. When Dimmesdale tells her to come up the scaffold and asks her where she has been, she replies that she has been measuring the robe that the governor is to be buried in.

This statement implies that Hester’s reputation as a talented seamstress has spread. Ironically, her first well known piece of work was the scarlet letter that she wore on her chest. As a result, she owes her own success to her infamy. Besides growing older, Pearl’s most significant change is in her perceptibility.

In this scene, she constantly asks Dimmesdale if he will be joining Hester and herself on the scaffold tomorrow at noon and accuses him of not being true. Neither Hester nor Dimmesdale ever told Pearl who her father was, but she figures it out by the way he always holds his hand over his heart. Chillingworth’s derangement is evident in this scene also. His contempt for Dimmesdale is so acute that he risks his cover when he gives him a look so vivid as to remain painted on the darkness after the bright meteor that just passed, vanishes. The third scene is very critical because it is the last glimpse into every characters’ mind and the last time that everyone is alive. At this point in time, Dimmesdale’s fixation on his sin has utterly corroded him to the point of death.

After he gives his election day sermon, he goes to the scaffold and asks Hester and Pearl to join him because he is so weak that he can hardly support himself. He finally exposes the truth and tells his followers of how he deceived them. The only good that comes out of conceding his guilt is that he passed away without any secrets, for he was already too far gone to be able to be saved. This scene is important to the characterization of Hester because it is the first time that she is not in complete control of her emotions.

Her dream of escaping to England with Dimmesdale is lost when he decides to confess. The unanticipated arrival of Chillingworth and Dimmesdale’s feeble appearance distresses her, and for the first time, she can not control the outcome. The greatest transformation in Pearl’s life occurs in this scene.

While she used to be perceived as elfish, she now shows the first signs of normal human emotion. After Dimmesdale confesses his sin, she kisses his lips voluntarily. “The great scene of griefhad developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it”. Ultimately, Chillingworth takes a severe turn for the worse when Dimmesdale reveals his sin. Since Chillingworth based the rest of his life on playing games on Dimmesdale’s mind, he was left without any goals, and his life became meaningless. On that account, it is clear that Hawthorne uses the scaffold scenes, not only as a unifying device, but as a means to keep the reader interested in the novel by providing plenty of action. The main characters sharply contrast each other in the way they react to Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin.

To begin, Hester becomes stronger, more enduring, and even more sympathetic. She becomes stronger because of all the weight she has to carry. She is a single mother who suffers all of the burdens of parenthood by herself. They live on the edge of town, and Pearl has no one to give her food, shelter and emotional support besides Hester. Pearl is especially difficult to raise because she is anything but normal. Hawthorne gives a pretty accurate description of Pearl when he writes: The child could not be made amenable to rules.

In giving her existence, a great law had been broken; and the result was a being whose elements were perhaps beautiful and bril- liant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered. Hester’s endurance is proven when the people of the colony completely change their opinion of her. While a lesser person would run from the hostile colonists, Hester withstands their insolence and pursues a normal life.

After years of proving her worth with her uncommon sewing skills and providing community service, the colonists come to think of the scarlet letter as “the cross on a nun’s bosom,” which is no small accomplishment. Hester also becomes more sensitive to the feelings and needs of other people. She feels that her own sin gives her “sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts”. So even though the people she tried to help “often reviled the hand that was stretched forth to succor them,” she continues her services because she actually cares.

While Hester tries to make the best out of her situation, Dimmesdale becomes weaker by letting guilt and grief eat away at his conscience. Dimmesdale punishes himself by believing that he can never be redeemed. He feels that he will never be seen the same in the eyes of God, and that no amount of penitence can ever return him to God’s good graces. He is so touchy on this subject that when Hester says his good deeds will count for something in God’s view, he exclaims, “There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead and can do nothing for me!”. Dimmesdale also believes that his sin has taken the meaning out of his life.

His life’s work has been dedicated to God, and now his sin has tainted it. He feels that he is a fraud and is not fit to lead the people of the town to salvation. The feeling is so oppressive that the chance of escaping his work and leaving with Hester and Pearl makes him emotionally (and probably mentally) unstable.

He walks through the town with twice as much energy as normal, and he barely stops himself from swearing to a fellow deacon. When an old lady approaches him he can not remember any scripture what so ever to tell her, and the urge to use his power of persuasion over a young maiden is so strong that he covers his face with his cloak and runs off. The largest cause of Dimmesdale’s breakdown is the fact that he keeps his sin a secret. As God’s servant, it is his nature to tell the truth, so the years of pretending are especially hard on him. His secret guilt is such a burden that instead of going with Hester to England and perhaps having a chance to live longer, he chose to stand, confess and perish on the scaffold.

Ultimately, Chillingworth responds to his wife’s betrayal by sacrificing everything in order to seek revenge. After he discovers that his wife bore another man’s child, Chillingworth gives up his independence. He used to be a scholar who dedicated his best years “to feed the hungry dream of knowledge,” but his new allegiance becomes finding and slowly punishing the man who seduced his wife. He soon becomes obsessed with his new mission in life, and when he targeted Reverend Dimmesdale as the possible parent, he dedicates all of his time to becoming his confidant in order to get his retribution. Vengeance was also one of the reasons that Chillingworth gives up his identity. The only way he can truly corrupt Dimmesdale is to live with him and be by his side all day, every day. The only possible way to do that is to give up his true identity as Roger Prynne, Hester’s husband, and become Roger Chillingworth. Since the only person who knew his true identity is sworn to silence, he succeeds for a long time in tricking Dimmesdale until Hester sees that he was going mad and finally revealed Chillingworth’s true identity.

His largest sacrifice is by far, his own life. After spending so much time dwelling on his revenge, Chillingworth forgets that he still has a chance to lead a life of his own. So accordingly, after Dimmesdale reveals his secret to the world, Chillingworth dies less than a year later because he has nothing left to live for. In conclusion, Hawthorne’s use of characterization gives the book a classic feeling by showing Hester, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth’s feelings indirectly through acts. The novel revolves around two major symbols: light and darkness and the scarlet letter. The book is filled with light and darkness symbols because it represents the most common battle of all time, good versus evil.

When Hester and her daughter are walking in the forest, Pearl exclaims: Mother, the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Now see! There it is, playing, a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child.

It will not flee from me, for I wear nothing on my bosom yet. Hester tries to stretch her hand into the circle of light, but the sunshine vanishes. She then suggests that they go into the forest and rest. This short scene actually represents Hester’s daily struggle in life. The light represents what Hester wants to be, which is pure. The movement of the light represents Hester’s constant denial of acceptance.

Hester’s lack of surprise and quick suggestion to go into the forest, where it is dark, shows that she never expected to be admitted and is resigned to her station in life. Another way light and darkness is used in symbolism is by the way Hester and Dimmesdale’s plan to escape is doomed. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the shadows of the forest with a gloomy sky and a threatening storm overhead when they discuss their plans for the future. The gloomy weather and shadows exemplify the fact that they can’t get away from the repressive force of their sins. It is later proven when Dimmesdale dies on the scaffold! instead of leaving with Hester and going to England. A final example occurs by the way Hester and Dimmesdale can not acknowledge their love in front of others.

When they meet in the woods, they feel that, “No golden lightGovernor Winthrop had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest. This emotion foretells that they will never last together openly because their sin has separated them too much from normal life. The scarlet letter also takes many different forms in the novel. The first and clearest form that the letter A takes is “Adulteress.” It is apparent that Hester is guilty of cheating on her husband when she surfaces from the prison with a three-month-old-child in her arms, and her husband has been away for two years. Hence, the people look at the letter elaborately embroidered with gold thread and see a “hussy” who is proud of her sin. The second form that it takes is “Angel.” When Governor Winthrop passes away, a giant A appears in the sky! People from the church feel that, “For as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this past night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof!”.

The final form that the scarlet letter take is “Able.” Hester helped the people of the town so unselfishly that Hawthorne wrote: 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 it s original significance. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.

In closing, one of the most important reasons that The Scarlet Letter is so well known is the way Hawthorne leaves the novel open to be interpreted several different ways by his abundant use of symbolism. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices enables Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter to the develop the theme of the heart as a prison. Hawthorne describes the purpose of the novel when he says, “Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worse, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!”. The theme is beneficial because it can be put into terms in today’s world. The Scarlet Letter is one of the few books that will be timeless, because it deals with alienation, sin, punishment, and guilt, emotions that will continue to be felt by every generation to come.

The Scarlet Letter

During the romanticism period, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the novel, The Scarlet Letter, which used the romanticist idea of deep intuition and inner feelings, allowing the characters to have insight of the plots and secrets hidden in the strict Puritan community that they lived in. Throughout the novel many of the characters have this intuition, making the book more alluring to readers when trying figuring out what each character really knows. At the beginning of the novel, we are shown Pearl’s natural child-like instincts for the Preacher, who is actually her father. When Pearl was first a baby, Hester and her were shamed on the scaffold while Reverend Dimmesdale, her father, preached to the awed crowd of the deep sin committed by Hester, and Pearl reaches out for him, “and held up its little arms,” (pg. 68) as if reaching for her father.In another instance, they were all discussing Pearl at the Governors house and Pearl, totally out of her independent character, went over to Dimmesdale and “taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it.” (pg.

118) That was really unlike Pearl, who was a “wild and flighty little elf,” (pg. 118) that didn’t display affection like that. Both of these bonding experiences occurred while she was younger and both times never caused speculation by the town. Not only Pearl, but Mr.

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Chillingworth, Hester’s husband, had the intuition of knowing, rather sensing that Dimmesdale was the father.It was never told to him by anyone, or even speculated that the preacher was the sinner, but he could sense it anyway and knew he had to become close to Dimmesdale to figure him out. He also knew, not as a doctor, but as an evil man, that when Mr. Dimmesdale grabbed at his chest it was caused by something greater than an illness, it was caused by something Chillingworth knew how to provoke. The most amazing of his intuitions, would be at the end of the novel when he was already aware of Hester and Dimmesdale’s plans to leave with Pearl on a ship to England. The mariner first informed Hester of his plans when explaining to her “that this physician here- Chillingworth, he calls himself- is minded to try my [the mariner’s] cabin-fare with you [Hester].” (pg. 247) That was a most devastating revelation to the reader, fading the hope given that they could run off together and be happy forever.

Another character who was all-knowing in an ominous way, was Mistress Hibbins who was always aware of what was happening in the affair.She first tried to persuade Hester to join the witches by coming to the Black Man’s meeting in the woods. Mistress Hibbins knew of the bad circumstances and knew Hester was close to not caring enough to sign her name in the Black Man’s book. Hester even answered her saying she would have “willingly gone with thee [Hibbins] into the forest, and signed my [Hester’s] name in the Black Man’s book.” (pg. 119) She also scared Pearl telling her of how her mother had come and signed her name already to the point of Pearl inquiring her mother of it, who admitted it and was not aware that Mistress Hibbins had filled her mind with all these evil thoughts .

And she too, knew of her rendevous in the woods with Dimmesdale and made comment of it to him of it the next day in the town telling him, “So Reverend Sir, you’ve made a visit into the forest,’ observed the witch lady.” (pg. 232) This book put light on a lot of ideas intertwined to a great novel.I only had the opportunity to enlighten the idea of the romanticists, and of the intuition the characters showed throughout the whole book. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a magnificent writer who knew how to include his type of writing with the period of romanticism, and with many other writing techniques that need to be analyzed closely to notice and appreciate.

The Scarlet Letter was a great book that I would refer others to. The characters all showed strong and unique characteristics that I felt made the book so well developed, one of those characteristics being the intuition and insight which helped to develop and thicken the plot for the novel.


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