Literary Elements In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Good Essays
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a combination of various literary elements contribute to the academic value of the novel. Symbolism, imagery, and figurative language assist in conveying the tone of the events occurring in main character’s lives. From Hester’s first public appearance as a sinner to the A illustrated on her grave, she experiences mixed emotions both interpersonally and extrapersonally, defining why her story is one of highest regards.
From the first scene on the scaffold, Hester’s scarlet letter and her intense shame define her character. Her A thoroughly isolates her and Pearl from the world around them, even in a crowd of familiar faces. Standing on the scaffold, the scarlet letter appears to burn brighter
…show more content…
She travels to the woods with her newfound family, where she frees herself from the burden of the A on her chest. Hester’s actions allow her to feel like a new person, epitomized by Hawthorne in a vivid description of her reactions: "There played around her mouth, and beamed out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, which had been long so pale" (Hawthorne 185). Removing the letter gave Hester a beam of hope, at least for the time being, something she likely had not felt since before her sin. Reverend Dimmesdale fulfills Hester and Pearl’s hopes at his last sermon, producing a feeling of nostalgia between the characters. Wearily, Dimmesdale begins his sermon until he sees Hester and Pearl in the crowd and invites them to join him on the scaffold. He professes his sin and reveals a supposed red marking on his own chest, outing him as Pearl’s father and Hester’s partner-in-sin. Hawthorne acknowledges the natural human need for love and companion, addressing how valuable this moment was to Hester and Pearl: “Love, whether newly born, or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create a sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world” (Hawthorne 186). The metaphoric meanings exhibit that Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl are three parts of a whole, expressing nostalgia towards their newly public
Get Access