The infamous scarlet letter of Hester Prynne not only eradicates her reputation but becomes the barrier that isolates her from the Puritan community. Through the story, traits that were attributed to the scarlet letter develope in the eyes of Hester, Pearl, the village people, and the narrator. These views help to show the main ideas coming across from this story that reflect not only the sins of the Puritans but the sins of all mankind. Hester, the unlikely protagonist of this narrative, constantly battles with what her condemning “A” means to her. Although she makes and embroiders the letter herself, this scarlet “A” becomes its own individual persona.
The Power of the Symbol in The Scarlet Letter All classic literature uses symbolism in one way or another. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is no different. The very basis of every character, their personal appearance and way they act revolves around one thing, the Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is an "A", in crimson fabric, worn by a Puritan woman for her act of adultery. Its very existence is solely to cause shame and remorse on Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, who was conceived in her lust, but it comes to stand for so much more.
In Hester’s case, her punishment is rather different due to many circumstances, one being, her husband may have died at sea. As her punishment for the adultery committed with Dimmesdale, a God-fearing and reputable Puritan, Hester must not only wear a scarlet “A” for the remainder of her residence in Boston, but also stand on a public scaffold in the center of the marketplace. The ignominious letter of punishment, she wears with great pride and it is “so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom” that she is professing her acceptance of all the consequence of her actions (Hawthorne 51). The manner in which Hester conducts herself concerning her punishment establishes her goodness greatly, for even in castigation, she finds morality. Hester Prynne “[makes] a pride out of what they, worthy gentlemen, meant as punishment” in her beautiful illustration of her sin upon her chest (Hawthorne 51).
The scarlet letter she wears will constantly remind her and the townspeople that she is a sinner. While at Governor Bellingham"s mansion, Hester can"t help but notice while looking into the shining armor how much the "A" stands out. The "A" is seen "in exaggeration and gigantic proportions, so as to be the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it" (102). Right then and there, she realizes how much the "A" has become a part of her.
Pearl is The Scarlet Letter Pearl is the living embodiment of the scarlet letter because she forces Hester and Dimmesdale to accept their sins. The Puritan society looks at Pearl as a child of the devil, and a black hearted girl because she is the result of sin. Hester and Dimmesdale are both in the same situation in Pearl's eyes. Pearl wants Hester to realize that she is not the worst person in the world before she removes the scarlet letter. Pearl wants Dimmesdale to accept his sin, and be part of their life publicly.
Cursed with the permanent mark of adultery upon her bosom, Hester Prynne, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter, faces many hardships and disgrace. Referencing these hardships, Hawthorne portrays the scarlet letter as the forbidden mark of adultery. Upon first meeting Hester, the scarlet letter is a symbol for adultery and disgrace. As the story progresses, the scarlet letter evolves into a symbol of wisdom and identity. Hawthorne utilizes each different meaning of the scarlet letter to make a commentary on the Puritan society.
A symbol of Hester’s sin that is accumulating the guilt inside of her is the scarlet letter. An example we are given in the book reads,“‘Ah, but,’ interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by the hand, ‘let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart,’” (Hawthorne 49). In this statement, the author is trying to get across that not only will Hester think this letter will be a constant reminder of her sin, the people around her know that this punishment will be enough to constantly aggravate her. With a strong feeling of antipathy toward the permanent symbol on her chest, the narrator tells us, “When the young woman—the mother of this child—stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress,” (Hawthorne 50). Although Hester may be trying to display her... ... middle of paper ... ...arket-place,” (Hawthorne 52).
Hawthorne continues to say ¡°It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself¡± (37). Since the scarlet letter symbolizes sin, it is the ultimate source of social isolation for her. Hester is in a sphere of her own where her sin affects her livelihood and has completely isolated her from the world. The prison marks the beginning of a new life for Hester; a life filled with coping with consequences. Guilt is a consequence of sin that Hester must endure throughout her life, which also begins to have a profound effect on her life and thinking.
She had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely wreaking itself in every variety of insult but... ... middle of paper ... ... off exhibition across her mother chest. The through Pearl, the letter whispers to Hesters conciouosness that she cannot be released from her sin, the letter will not allow it, and neither will Pearl. The letter has become a part of Hester, it is no longer an act that she was involved in, it has come to define her as a person in Pearls point of view. In The Scarlet Letter, symbolism in the symbolism in this novel plays a large part in the novel, in the scarlet letter “A” as a symbol of sin and then it gradually changes its meaning, guiltiness is symbolic in the novel, and of course the living evidence of the adulterous act, Pearl. The actions of Pearl, Dimmesdale and fate all return the letter of Hester.
Hester embroiders her scarlet letter and dresses her daughter, Pearl, in scarlet. She also wears her scarlet letter way longer than the community says showing everyone that she has nothing to hide. Even though the strict Puritan values bring Hester to public shame, they also help Hester gain back the respect of her community. “To Puritans, a person by nature was inherently sinful and corrupt, and only by severe and