The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the “A” that Hester wears has significant meanings to all four major characters. In the novel, the “A” that Hester Prynne wears upon her breast represents adultery. The “A” is very important to the story because it represents Hester 's sin. The novel revolves around the “A” so without the “A” there would be no story. Just as the “A” affects Hester it affects Dimmesdale, Pearl, Chillingworth, and the people of the town as well.
To Hester, the main character and the wearer of the scarlet letter, the “A” symbolizes a lot more than the other characters in the novel. The main meaning of the “A” to Hester is that she shall be bound to her sin for life. Hester is judged by all for the letter she wears because of the adulterous sin has she committed. The scarlet letter teaches Hester different things about herself and others around her. “The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, —stern and wild ones, —and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.” (chapter 18) This quote from the book expresses the things that the scarlet letter really did teach Hester such as being strong and amiss.. Hester was also taught to be strong from wearing the scarlet letter because she had to raise Pearl alone in the woods and solitude. Hester was taught amiss because she was able to sense the sins of others in her presence. Hester is able to forgive the sins of others because no one else in the town would. After a while Hester becomes to accept the letter just like accepting her flaw. Towards the middle of the book Hester starts to learn from her sin, and grows strong as she starts to accept her sin and the “...


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All in all, the “A” that Hester Prynne wears throughout the novel means different things to the four main characters and the community. Hester, is most defined by the scarlet letter because she is the wearer of it. Not only does the letter define Hester Prynne but it changes her into a new person. Hester and Dimmesdale who are the parents of pearl are symbolized by the letter because it represents their sins. Pearl, who is the daughter of Hester sees the “A” as defining her mother. Chillingworth whom is the abandoned husband of Hester is motivated by the “A” to seek Pearl’s father and get revenge. Last but not least, the meaning of the “A” to the Puritan community changes throughout the novel unlike the rest of the characters. The “A” in Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet letter” overall takes on very different meanings to the characters during the course of the novel.

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