Symbols In The Scarlet Letter
Essay Preview: Symbols In The Scarlet Letter
Report this essay
Symbols of The Scarlet Letter
Symbolism in literature is represented by the deepness and hidden meaning inside a piece of work. It often reveals a moral or religious value. Symbolism in literature is very important, because without it, literature would just be meaningless words on paper. Perhaps one of the most symbolic pieces of works in American literature would have to be The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne.
Symbolism is often found throughout The Scarlet Letter. Early on in the novel, the rosebush next to the prison door is presented as one of the earliest symbols. The prison represents crime and punishment that was anticipated in the early Puritan life. The rosebush represents the ability of nature to outlast mans life. The red rosebush also represents the blossoming of good out of the darkness of all civilization. The weeds symbolize how corrupt the society really is.
The most important symbol in the novel is the scarlet letter A which Hester is forced to wear. Initially it symbolizes the immoral consequence she must face after her act of adultery. The meaning of this letter is to change by the end of the novel. It goes from meaning “Adulterer” to mean “Able”. It shows that Hester was able to persevere through everything she has suffered through. The letter “A” appears in many other places besides the breast of Hester. It is seen on the armor breastplate at Governors Bellinghams Mansion, at night while on the scaffold when Dimmesdale sees the bright letter A in the sky, while Pearl is playing on the shore when she arranges the grass in the form of the A on her own breast. More importantly it is also viewed when Chillingworth views the A on Dimmesdale chest.
The letter A means different things to the different characters in the novel. While to Hester it represents her humility. To Dimmesdale it represents his guilt that he carries for his actions also. Chillingworth sees the A as a quest for revenge to find the adulterer which Hester cheated with. It also shows how the cultures differ because to the Native Americans, she was seen as someone who was important to their civilization.
In addition, Pearl herself would be a major symbol in the novel. Pearl reminds Hester of her sins as well as her punishment. Hest however does not regret having Pearl, she in fact considers herself a blessing. Pearl ensures Hesters survival. Without Pearl, Hester may have considered to just give up if the community still found out of her sin and rejected her.
The meteor in the sky is a major symbol in the story. When the meteor traced out the “A” in the night sky, many of the community thought it stood for Angel, and that it showed that Governor Winthrop made it to heaven. This also shows that the Puritans commonly looked to symbols such as the “A” in the sky to verify divine statements. In fact to different characters it represented different things. Dimmesdale