The Use Of Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

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Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter is often regarded as the first novel to be published in the United States that used symbolism”(Voshell Study Guide). Author Nathaniel Hawthorne expressed symbolism in and all throughout The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne uses symbolism for two different reasons. One of the reasons is that the use of symbolism creates a more enlightened effect, and giving the story more of a memorable sense with the images of the darkness and light, the good and the bad/evil, nature and society, and freedom and oppression. The first symbol is the forest and the wilderness which is a symbol for free, wild place, shelter, safe haven, evil and horror. The forest is expressed is different symbols throughout the novel.…show more content…
Pearl is a symbol for innocence, punishment, sin, beautiful, and a devil child. Pearl is the punishment that came out of Reverend Dimmesdale’s and Hester’s sin. She constantly changes back and forth between different symbols. Hawthorne expresses Pearl’s symbolism very well and in the end it really shows Pearl’s true identity. “Mother,” said little Pearl, “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 nothing on my bosom yet”(Hawthorne 202)! Pearl is essentially a product of her mother, Pearl and Reverend Dimmesdale’s sin. Pearl is Hester’s sin and, Pearl is always by Hester either by her side, holding her hand, or hugging her. Pearl always ends up being a little pest but she is the only thing that Hester has going for her. “So Pearl -- the elf-child -- the demon offspring, as some people up to the epoch persisted in considering in her -- became the richest heiress of her day in the New World. Not improbable, this circumstance estimation; and had the mother and child remained here, little Pearl at a marriageable period of life might have mingled her wild blood with the lineage of the devoutest Puritan among them all. But, in no long time after the physician’s death, the wearer of the scarlet letter disappeared, and Pearl along with her”(Hawthorne 287). This quote states that still after everything has happened Pearl had hope and trust. She turned out to be one of the richest and successful people. She has changed so much throughout the novel and it’s amazing to see how Hawthorne used Pearl’s symbolism in The Scarlet

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