Relationships and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Essay

Relationships and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Essay

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The Scarlet Letter is a well-known novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this novel Hawthorne wrote in depth about the Puritans’ reception to sin, in particular, adultery. He also includes brilliant visuals of the repercussions that occur when the town of Salem hears of Hester’s adultery. There are many relationships within the book, from a lover to a beautiful yet illegitimate daughter. Symbolism runs throughout, even a simple rose bush outside of a jail holds so much meaning. Hawthorne reveals themes all through the novel one in particular, was sin. Although sin does not occur often in the Puritan lifestyle Hawthorne shows the importance and change this one deceit makes for the town of Salem.
The relationships depicted in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter can be found in some of today’s most intriguing soap operas. At the beginning of The Scarlet Letter we are introduced to a young lady by the name of Hester Prynne. We are told that she has had a very complex relationship with an older man by the name of Rogers Chillingworth (Hawthorne). The basis of this relationship was told to be a marriage, but it is believed that Chillingworth paid more attention to his profession, medicine, instead of Hester (Weinauer). Chillingworth figured that the marriage would not last forever. This is proven when he says to Hester,
A man already in decay, having given my best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge,—what had I to do with youth and beauty like thine own! Misshapen from my birth-hour, how could I delude myself with the idea that intellectual gifts might veil physical deformity in a young girl’s fantasy! … Nay, from the moment when we came down the old church-steps together, a married pair, I might have beheld the bale-...


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...y Literature Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985.Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Myerson, Joel. "Ticknor and Fields; Allen and Ticknor; William D. Ticknor; William D. Ticknor
and Company; Ticknor, Reed and Fields." American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638-1899. Ed. Peter Dzwonkoski. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 49. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Oliphant, Margaret. "Modern Novelists-Great and Small." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 77
(May 1855): 554-568. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985.Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Weinauer, Ellen. "Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter." . Charles Scribner's Sons, 1 Jan.
2003. Web. .

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