Symbolism for Adam and Eve in Nathanial Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter" Essay

Symbolism for Adam and Eve in Nathanial Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter" Essay

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Through the use of numerous symbols, Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter serves as an allegory for the story of Adam and Eve and its relation to sin, knowledge, and the human condition that is present in human society. Curious for the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, which resulted in the revelation of their “humanness” and expulsion from the “divine garden” as they then suffered the pain and joy of being humans. Just as Adam and Eve were expelled from their society and suffered in their own being, so were Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter. Hester was out casted and shunned, while Dimmesdale suffered under his own guilt. After knowledge of her affair is made known, Hester is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her chest to symbolize her crime of adultery, and is separated from the Puritan society. Another “A” appears in the story, and is not embroidered, but instead scarred on Dimmesdale’s chest as a symbol of guilt and suffering. Hester’s symbol of guilt comes in the form of her daughter, Pearl, who is the manifestation of her adultery, and also the living version of her scarlet letter. Each of these symbols come together to represent that with sin comes personal growth and advancement of oneself in society as the sinner endures the good and bad consequences.
With sin there is personal growth, and as a symbol of her sin, Hester’s scarlet “A” evokes development of her human character. The Puritan town of Boston became suspicious when Hester Prynne became pregnant despite her husband being gone. Being a heavily religious village, the townspeople punished Hester for her sin of adultery with the burden of wearing a scarlet “A” on all that she wears. Initially the...


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...was born out of sin.
As evident in The Scarlet Letter, when a person sins they face positive and negative consequences that lead into development of their own personal character. Hester’s scarlet letter gave negative consequences in the beginning, but as Hester persevered she discovered benefits that aided in her becoming a strong woman in society. While Arthur Dimmesdale suffered the guilt and pain of his sin, his sermons benefited from his anguish, making him better than he ever had been. As an ever-constant reminder of sin, Pearl was able to show Hester the goodness in life and keep her going. In conclusion, in modern and past society there has always been sin or badness that people fall into, but it is important to get through these hard times as only then will people grow into who they are meant to be, and not remain stagnant in the pool of the “immaculate”.

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