Essay on Light and Dark in The Scarlet Letter

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Light, Dark, and The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's bold novel, The Scarlet Letter, effectively employs three major symbols: light, dark, and the scarlet letter. The novel relies heavily on light and dark symbolism to represent the eternal struggle of good versus evil. One example of the effective use of light and dark symbolism occurs 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 no- thing on my bosom yet (192) Hester tries to stretch her hand into the circle of light, but the sunshine vanishes (192). She then suggests that they go into the forest and rest (193). 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 (200). 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 (269). 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 light had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest (206). 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.
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