Emotionally dramatic scenes in The Scarlet Letter show Hawthorne’s opinions about judgement. For example, when Hester leaves the jail and is revealed for the crowd, her first instincts were to clutch her baby closer to her and brace for what was about to happen. “In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A”
(Hawthorne 39-40). This passage shows how Hester accepts h...
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...was powerful and peculiar. All the light and graceful foliage of her character had been withered up by this harsh outline” (Hawthorne 125). These passages reflect the true power that the most prominent symbol in the story, the scarlet letter ‘A’ had. Writer, Charles Feidelson, Jr., comments on additional meanings of the scarlet ‘A’ regarding when the narrator came across the manuscript. “It is not primarily a moment of conscience, for Hawthorne carefully avoids any explicit reference to the theme of
adultery or even to the idea of sin. As a single letter, the most indeterminate of all symbols, and first letter of the alphabet, the beginning of all communication, Hester’s emblem represents a potential point of coherence within a manifold historical experience” (Feidelson 33). Throughout the story, the ‘A’ of ‘adultery’ turned into an ‘A’ for ‘able’.
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