Essay PreviewMore ↓
Authors sometimes use symbols in their novels to represent
different objects, people or ideas. One example is the S on Superman's
uniform, which symbolizes him being supper. In "The Scarlet Letter"
Nathaniel Hawthorne creates the symbolism of the letter "A" to have
different meanings. As the novel unfolds, the meanings of the letter "A"
on Hester Prynne's bosom changes, from adultery to able to angel.
In the beginning of the novel, Hawthorne describes the letter "A"
that lies on Hester's bosom as a symbol of adultery. Hester is made to
wear the letter "A" once the town's people see, that she committed adultery
by bearing a child by some other soul than her husband Roger Chillingworth.
Since she has worn this letter, she now has a label on her that she is
sinful. She is brought out in public to show everyone what is embroidered
on her chest. The narrator shares, "When the young women- the mother of
this child-stood fully revealed before the crowd...On the breast of her
gown, in fine red cloth surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and
fantastic flourshes of gold thread..."(50-1). Many people there to see her
when she reveals the "A" on her chest. Most of the town people are
astonished and startled on her beauty still shone. Even though the big red
letter on her chest stood for adultery.
As the novel progressed the meaning as the "A"" made a change for
the better in Hester's life. In chapters before of the novel the letter
"A" on Hester's bosom had negative meaning, but this time Hawthorne turns
the meaning around in the story to mean able. Now that she has given many
hours of time and service to the sick, poor and troubled she began to gain
respect from some of the town's people who once looked down on her. This
time the author shares, "Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to
do and power to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the
scarlet "A" by it's original signification. They said that it meant "
Able"...(158). Hester still held up her head and did not appear to be down.
She was trying to become herself again slowly. Once again the letter on
How to Cite this Page
"Symbols and Symbolism - The Letter A in The Scarlet Letter." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Oct 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Symbolism of the Letter in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter includes many profound and important symbols. This device of symbolism is portrayed well in the novel, especially through the scarlet letter "A". The "A" is the best example because of the changes in the meaning throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter "A" is viewed as a symbol of sin. The middle of the novel is a transition period, where the scarlet letter "A" is viewed differently.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1531 words (4.4 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is generally considered to be the first American symbolic novel. A symbol is something which is used to represent something broader in meaning. The most obvious symbol in the novel is the actual scarlet "A" which both the criticism and I agree upon. This "A" is the literal symbol of the sin of adultery. The letter A then appears in many different forms throughout the novel. The gold-embroidered A on Hester Prynne's fascinates Pearl Prynne.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
942 words (2.7 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne. The name strikes fear in the hearts of high school students everywhere because Hawthorne's 'wordy' novels, especially his 1849 The Scarlet Letter, have been at the top of English classes' required reading lists for years and will continue to be for years to come. In general, students have grown accustomed to superficial analyses of books, which encompasses reading and regurgitating 'literary facts' on multiple choice tests. However, when reading engaging, well-written, stylistic and ambiguous novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, one must go deeper and actually examine the novel and the elements that the author so effectively uses.... [tags: Free Scarlet Letter Essays]
1010 words (2.9 pages)
- The Powerful Symbol of the Scarlet Letter In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne's scarlet token liberates her more than it punishes her. First of all, Hester's soul is freed by her admission of her crime; by enduring her earthly punishment, Hester is assured of a place in the heavens. Also, though her appearance is much hampered by the scarlet letter, her mind is freed by it, that an intellectual passion rises from her isolation and suffering. Finally, it defines her identity, for the letter makes Hester the woman that she is; it gives her roots, character, and a uniqueness to her being that sets her apart from the other Puritans. The... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1430 words (4.1 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Carl Jung believed that the source of symbols is universal. Symbols arise from the collective unconscious common to all humans everywhere. Joseph Campbell's research supports this theory; he traces universal archetypes through the stories, myths, and artwork of various cultures. While most work done with symbolism has focused on the universality of symbols, Nathaniel Hawthorn focuses on their personal, subjective meanings. A universal symbol arises from the symbol's relationship to reality; thus, such a symbol remains the same across cultures and with different individuals.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
575 words (1.6 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne isn't noted for perfecting any famous literary style, for writing multiple best sellers, or even for contributing largely to classic American literature. His only real claim to fame is The Scarlet Letter: a novel that was originally only meant to be yet another Hawthorne short story. Because of this, it actually possesses many short story characteristics. "It is simpler and more complete than his other novels." (James 285) It also has an excellent plot backed by an expert use of literary techniques. One technique Hawthorne used was borrowed solely from drama: the use of the aside. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale delivers an aside in the... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1172 words (3.3 pages)
- Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme revolves around a sin that has been committed. It takes places in the seventeenth century in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the local Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, commits the sin. Roger Chillingworth is Hester's husband while the affair is taking place. Because of the affair, Hester and Arthur have a daughter named Pearl. The sin that Hester commits is adultery. Hawthorne uses a variety of symbols throughout The Scarlet Letter, and he symbolizes the scarlet letter "A" in several ways.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
717 words (2 pages)
- The Symbol of Pearl In Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, Pearl, is the human symbol of the sin of adultery in the fact that she leads her mother, Hester Prynne, and Arthur Dimmesdale to accept and admit to their sin. Pearl is the beautiful daughter of Hester and Dimmesdale. She is the living symbol of the scarlet letter and has unique traits that make her sometimes appear as a demon. Her love for nature and freedom, her spirit, her wildness, her loneliness and separation from the world, her curiosity, and her innocent but symbolic comments reveal her distinct personality.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1035 words (3 pages)
- The Power of the Symbol in The Scarlet Letter All classic literature uses symbolism in one way or another. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is no different. The very basis of every character, their personal appearance and way they act revolves around one thing, the Scarlet Letter. The scarlet letter is an "A", in crimson fabric, worn by a Puritan woman for her act of adultery. Its very existence is solely to cause shame and remorse on Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, who was conceived in her lust, but it comes to stand for so much more.... [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]
1835 words (5.2 pages)
- 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]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Hester's Isolation and Alienation in The Scarlet Letter
- Comparing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthrone and The Crucible by Arthur Miller
- Impure Puritans in The Scarlet Letter
- Guilt in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Light and Darkness in The Scarlet Letter
- The Implicat of Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
her chest changed from the meaning of adultery to something she could be
Once the novel nears the end Hawthorne again makes the letter "A"
"stand for an angel. Hester in the story about this time had more self-
esteem and she also looked upon herself as a good person after her sacred
love is revealed. So she looks at the "A" lying on her bosom with better
thoughts. "The angel and apostle of the coming must be a women, indeed,
but lofty, pure and beautiful, and wise, moreover, not through dusky grief,
but the ethereal medium of joy" (258). Hawthorn lets us understand that no
matter what others think of Hester it does not seem to matter. "So said
Heater Prone, and glanced her eyes downward at the scarlet letter. And,
after many years a new grave was delved after a sunken one..."(258). This
was an everlasting impression from the how the symbolism of the letter that
lies on her chest to mean angel witch was another good meaning for her.
Throughout the "Scarlet Letter" Hawthorne portrays symbolism of the
letter "A". This makes readers think something about one thing that really
could be totally different. Still at the end of this book it came out to
be a positive meaning. The purpose of this to show that objects in stories
can have more than one meaning you just have to use your imagination. Not
like the beginning when the "A" stood for adultery.