Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

Length: 850 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



Use of Symbols in The Scarlet Letter

 

 

 

In World Book Dictionary, a symbol is defined as something that stands for or represents something else, especially an idea, quality, or condition. Symbols can be objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent ideas or concepts. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols that are throughout the novel. While symbols can be created, such created symbols are subjective and must be given meaning within their context and because the context is different among individuals and societies and can vary over time. Some symbols that are used in the novel The Scarlet Letter is the scarlet letter, the meteor, Pearl, the rosebush next to the prison door, and the scaffold.

 

The scarlet letter is a symbol that is a symbol of shame, Instead it becomes a power of identity to Hester. As time passes the letter's meaning on Hester's chest shifts also. "..that many people refused to interpret the scarlet "A" by its original signification. They said that it meant "Able"; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength" (145). From the beginnings the scarlet letter intended to mark Hester as an adulterer and eventually it comes to stand for able. It marks her as a person of importance. As Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl in Chapter XII, a red "A" appears in the night sky. "..looking upward to the zenith, beheld there the appearance of an immense letter -the letter "A"-marked out in lines of dull red light" (140). To Dimmesdale, the meteor implies that he should wear the mark of shame just as Hester Prynne. The meteor is interpreted differently from the rest of the community. The c...


... middle of paper ...


... of the meeting house. The minister went up the steps" (132). The scaffold is a place of public confession for Revered Dimmesdale. Whoever mounts the scaffold draws attention of the public.

 

In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there were several symbols used in the novel. The scarlet letter was meant to be a symbol of shame but it became a power of identity for Hester. The meteor, for Dimmesdale meant he should be wearing the scarlet letter just like Hester. To the town, the meteor meant "angel" which meant that the Governor entered the gates of heaven. Pearl was a symbol that was a living version of her mother's sin. The rosebush by the prison door represents the ability of nature to endure and outlasts a man's activities. The scaffold is a place of public confession and alludes back to the sin of adultery.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- Use of Symbols in The Scarlet Letter In World Book Dictionary, a symbol is defined as something that stands for or represents something else, especially an idea, quality, or condition. Symbols can be objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent ideas or concepts. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols that are throughout the novel. While symbols can be created, such created symbols are subjective and must be given meaning within their context and because the context is different among individuals and societies and can vary over time....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Better Essays
850 words (2.4 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, like many romantic novels, opens the reader 's mind to many different views on the ideal life. The key details of the novel 's plot and character diversity are strategically used to show many different aspects to life. Two aspects that are repeatedly shown in the novel are the contrasts between nature and society. Hawthorne highlights several romantic ideas to emphasize the effect of nature’s purity and freedom on people in contrast with the corruption of community....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1268 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Use of Symbolism

- Nathaniel Hawthorne is a prominent writer who uses many different elements in his works. He uses elements such as symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, irony and etc. to make his work prominent. In the works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses symbols for secret sin in The Scarlet Letter, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” As seen in The Scarlet letter, the symbol for secret sin is the Scarlet letter “A.” The “A” represents the sin in which Hester commits adultery with the town’s minister, Dimmesdale....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Symbolism, ]

Better Essays
479 words (1.4 pages)

Symbolism And Its Significance Of The Scarlet Letter Essay

- Discuss Hawthorne’s use of symbolism and its significance to the theme of the novel The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter a tale of sin and redemption was set in the seventeenth century in the New World Boston, Massachusetts. From this, Hawthorne was able to effectively illustrate the effects of Puritanism that was found there through his characters throughout the novel. This essay will be to show how Hawthorne’s characters are affected by religion through the use of symbolism as well as its implication to the theme of the novel....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1549 words (4.4 pages)

Symbolism: S for Superman and A for Adultery in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter"

- Talented writers often use extensive symbolism in there writing to portray intricate thoughts, ideas, and concepts. For example, in the popular 1978 movie Superman the “S” on Superman’s costume stands for super. Along the same lines, the “A” in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is also a symbol. However, in contrast to the one dimensional meaning of the “S” in Superman, the “A” in The Scarlet Letter has a multifaceted meaning. As the literature unfolds the meaning of the crimson letter shining on Hester Prynne’s bosom subtlety changes from meaning adulterer, to able and finally the “A” becomes a symbol for angel....   [tags: Symbolism, Superman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scarlet ]

Better Essays
937 words (2.7 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, records a struggled life about two adultery lovers. This story was marked by the most successful work back in 1850s and also become to a big part of Hawthorne’s writing career. Through the eyes of his main character Hester Prynne, the readers seem to see a woman’s helpless under a brutal and traditional society, which was ruled by Puritan people. After his book had been published one after another, no one can deny Hawthorne’s irreplaceable talent and unremitting effort....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, records a struggled life about two adultery lovers. This story was marked by the most successful work back in 1850s and also become to a big part of Hawthorne’s writing career. Through the eyes of his main character Hester Prynne, the readers seem to see a woman’s helpless under a brutal and traditional society, which was ruled by Puritan people. After his book had been published one after another, no one can deny Hawthorne’s irreplaceable talent and unremitting effort....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1855 words (5.3 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nature’s Impact Looking around at adolescents today, do they even notice nature. Do they recognize the beauty. Probably not—they are too busy with television, social media, and the internet. Copious amounts of literature use the breathtaking and mysterious occurrences of nature to portray the mood and various ideas. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne displays his mastery of making the setting a key part of the plot. Hawthorne manipulates various natural scenes and feelings associated with nature to aid in the reader’s further understanding of the mood in the passage....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Scarlet Letter

- Nathaniel Hawthorne is a very well known author, especially for one of his more famous novels, The Scarlet Letter. When reading engaging, well-written, and ambiguous novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, we, as students, must go deeper and actually scrutinize the novel and try to depict certain themes or styles that we see developing throughout the course of the book. It is quite easy to see symbolism in this novel; however, it is not as easy to fully understand the thought process that went along with every word, paragraph, and page to The Scarlet Letter, or for that matter, any of Hawthorne’s novels....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1189 words (3.4 pages)