Essays Scarlet Letter Symbolism

the letter a as a symbol in the scarlet letter Essay

752 Words4 Pages

     Throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter there are many symbols. One of the biggest symbols of the novel is the scarlet letter A that Hester Prynne is sentenced to wear after she commits adultery. It is a symbol that is sewn onto her clothes for everyone to see. It is a punishment that is meant to humiliate her for the duration of the time that she stays in Puritanical Boston. During the novel, the scarlet letter changes and evolves from meaning adultery to meaning ability and even physically changes its form.
     In the beginning of the story, Hester is being punished for adultery, and is forced to wear the letter A on her bosom. It is shown so that people will know her as an…show more content…

“Individuals...had quite forgiven Hester Prynne...It is our Hester, the town’s own Hester, who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick...” (149). Hester is protected from all evil that might be around her, and “had the effect of the cross on a nun’s bosom” (149). The letter became a symbol of love and respect, and meant something good. Hester is able to deal with the townspeople, and they see her and have a new liking for her. They seem to forgive her for everything that she has done, like it doesn't matter, or it never happened. If Hester ran away from Boston, it would have shown her weakness. It would have shown that people of the town had power over her, and could make her feel guilty. Running away would show everybody that she was ashamed, and wasn't really good enough to live among them. Staying in Boston showed the townspeople that she was able to overcome her shame and that adultery is a part of who she is as a person. By accepting her adultery Hester is able to move on, having learned from her experiences. At one point Hester says: “Were I to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak of a different purport” (155). This foreshadows that the letter A might show up in new ways.
     The letter A shows up numerous times in The Scarlet Letter in many different ways. The letter is originally wonderfully

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Essay on Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

569 Words3 Pages

In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author presents three symbols that all reinforce the main idea of the novel. The main idea that reoccurred throughout the novel is that people don’t have to let their mistakes or circumstances determine who they are or what they become; it’s all in how one interprets life. Many symbols may seem as just an ordinary character or coincidental object to some readers, but the symbols have a deeper, underlying meaning. Although there are many symbols in this book, there are three that really help support the main idea: Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter, the meteor, and Hester’s daughter Pearl. One symbol is Hester’s scarlet “A” that she wears on her bosom. She received this letter, specifically…show more content…

The Puritans despised Hester and her symbol for her sin, and shunned her for many years even after her prison sentence. Hester could have just lived a depressed, lonely life in seclusion with her daughter Pearl, but she decided to accept her sin and wrong doing to become a mentally stronger woman. During the many years of Hester being in prison and being rejected when she was released, she practiced needlework to provide food for her and her daughter. As the people in Salem recognized her talent of her embroidery and garments, they began respecting her talent, and so the scarlet “A” that stood for “adulterer” slowly began to stand for “able.” Hester started to supply apparel for babies, ceremonies, inaugurations, and funerals. Furthermore, the Scarlet letter has another symbolic meaning. When Pearl went to the seashore, she made a green letter “A” out of seaweed – nature’s color. This was symbolic for Pearl’s sinless life so far because she hasn’t truly been introduced to sin; she still is “green” and “pure”. As for Hester, her scarlet “A” is symbolic of her many sins, for no one can avoid sin as they grow older. A second symbol that supports the main idea is the meteor. As The Scarlet Letter progresses, the readers find out that Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is the man who committed adultery with Hester. Because he has not admitted to his fault, Dimmesdale has been plagued with a sickness where he is constantly grabbing at

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