Color Symbolism In The Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism is often used in literature to describe certain character attributes or to draft a setting for the reader. Although the letter itself takes the spotlight, the color is what attracts the reader. In “The Scarlet Letter”, a woman by the name of Hester Prynne; who is married to Roger Chillingworth, commits adultery and gives birth to the other man’s child, Pearl. Hester is then punished for adultery by wearing the scarlet letter “A” on her bosom so all can see. Throughout the novel, Chillingworth becomes obsessed in trying to figure out who the other man is while Hester is swallowed by everyone’s judgments. The man whom Hester has the affair with confesses in front of the townspeople and later dies. Pearl, although conceived through sin, is full of joy and life and eventually grows up and marries.
Colors are important when one is describing a feeling, character, and setting. They can be used to assume a person 's personality when the author takes the time to describe the color of someone’s clothes. An author can also create certain feelings about the day or night in the scene by the colors they use to describe it. Symbolism is the heart of literature and color is one type of symbolism that is used. In
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Hester is associated with dim colors. She is an outcast for so long, has hidden away her beauty, and liveliness. She clothes herself in gray attires that nearly hide her from anyone’s sight. Hawthorne quotes, “On this public holiday, as on all other occasions, for seven years past, Hester was covered in a garment of coarse gray cloth. Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it has the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline”. Hawthorne uses the color gray to show the reader how drained and dull Hester is presented. Gray is not a desirable color; it symbolizes the presence of little or no life, emptiness, and
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