Essay Color Key

Free Essays
Unrated Essays
Better Essays
Stronger Essays
Powerful Essays
Term Papers
Research Papers




Symbols and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Rate This Paper:

Length: 491 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Red (FREE)      
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

 

     Symbolism in literature is the deepness and hidden meaning in a piece of

work.  It is often used to represent a moral or religious belief or value.

Without symbolism literature is just a bunch of meaningless words on paper.  The

most symbolic piece of work in American Literature is Nathaniel Hawthorne's The

Scarlet Letter.  Hawthorne's use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter is one of

the most significant contributions to the rise of American Literature.

 

 

     Much of Hawthorne's symbolism is very hard to find but several symbols are

also obvious.  In the first chapter Hawthorne describes the prison as "the black

flower of civilized society".  The prison represents the crime and punishment

that was incorporated in the early Puritan life.  He also contrasts the prison

with the tombstone at the end of the novel by suggesting that crime and

punishment bring about the end of civilized life.  In the same chapter he

describes the overgrown vegetation of weeds around the prison.  The weeds

symbolize how corrupt civilization really is.  He also points out a positive

symbol, the wild rose bush.  This represents the blossoming of good out of the

darkness of all civilized life.

 

 

     The most important symbol which is carried throughout the novel is

undoubtedly the scarlet letter A.  It initially symbolizes the immoral act of

adultery but by the end of the novel the "A" has hidden much more meaning than

that.  The "A" appears in many other places than on the chest of Hester Prynne.

It is seen on the armor breastplate at Governor Bellingham's mansion.  At night

while Dimmesdale is standing on the scaffold he sees a bright red letter A in

the sky.  While Pearl is playing near the bay shore she arranges some grass in

the form of an A on her own breast.  But one of the most important A's is one

the spectators see burnt on Dimmesdale's chest.

 

 

     The letter A also has a variety of meanings.  Originally standing for the

sin of adultery it has a different meaning for each character.  The Puritan

community considers the letter a mark of just punishment.  Hester sees the

letter as a symbol of unjust humiliation.  Dimmesdale sees the A as a reminder

of his own guilt.  Chillingworth sees the A as a quest for revenge to find the

adulterer.  Pearl is very curious of the letter and sees it as a great mystery.

The A also stands for "Angel" when it is seen in the sky on the night of

Governor Winthrop's death.

 

 

     Symbolism shows the greatness of an author's ability to supply meaning to

his work.  It also shows the pride an author takes in his work.  Nathaniel

Hawthorne's use of symbolism in The Scarlet Letter shows his greatness to

produce a novel of the highest possible caliber.  These are the reasons why

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is American Literature's most famous

symbolic novel ever to be written.
 

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Symbols and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Dec 2014
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=16944>.




Related Searches





Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability

123HelpMe.com (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.



Return to 123HelpMe.com

Copyright © 2000-2014 123HelpMe.com. All rights reserved. Terms of Service